Another worker arrested in the high-profile Canada Border Services raid earlier this month was to be deported overnight.
Tulio Renan Avilés Hernandez was scheduled to fly back to Honduras late Wednesday, in compliance with a deportation order issued after he was found at an East Vancouver construction site without permission to work in Canada or legal status to be in the country.
The raid on March 13 was filmed for the documentary TV series Border Security, igniting national controversy and concern about privacy and consent issues of the workers involved and government resources devoted to the show.
Avilés Hernandez has been in Canada for three years and failed to comply with a deportation order issued in December 2011.
Last week, the Immigration and Refugee Board denied his request to release him from detention so he could spend his last days in Canada with his wife, Diana Thompson, and her daughter Aaliyah. The couple is in the process of applying for sponsorship for Avilés Hernandez, but the IRB considered him a flight risk based on his past behaviour.
Thompson has been highly critical of the raid and accompanying TV crew. A petition she launched calling for the cancellation of the show has collected more than 20,000 signatures on Change.org.
In a release from the migrant worker advocacy group No One Is Illegal on Wednesday, Thompson said she felt frustrated and sad at the situation her family is facing.
“He was working, supporting his family back home and our family here, and now I don’t know when I will see him,” she said of her husband.
She also said she fears for his life in Honduras.
At least five of the eight men arrested in the raid have been issued deportation notices. One, Mexican Oscar Mata, left the country last week, but not before issuing a statement criticizing the CBSA’s involvement in the television show. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has since lodged a complaint with the federal privacy commissioner alleging the CBSA violated Mata’s rights when they allowed him to be filmed during the raid.
The raid has also prompted a group of construction professionals to speak out about the rampant use of illegal labourers within Vancouver’s construction sector. They are calling for a government crackdown on unscrupulous contractors who undercut their competition by paying artificially low wages in cash.
Canada Border Services has defended its actions, noting illegal immigrants are a threat to Canada’s economy.
More than 250,000 permanent and temporary residents come to Canada through legal channels each year, according to Canada Customs and Immigration. In 2012, more than 36,000 people legally immigrated to British Columbia. Many more are on waiting lists for permanent residency.