Anger grows against Canada border agency after deportation death
Pressure to conduct a full review and independent investigation into the apparent suicide of Lucia Jimenez in Canada Border Services Agency grew Wednesday as the BC Coroner confirmed the Mexican national was found hanging in a holding cell at YVR. (FOTOLIA)
A vigil for a Mexican national who died after a hanging incident while in Canada Border Services Agency custody has been set for Friday and a petition has been started demanding an independent review into the death and migrant detention policies.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed reports that Lucia Jimenez was found hanging in the shower of a CBSA holding facility at Vancouver International Airport. She did not regain consciousness and was taken off life support eight days later while surrounded by her family, a coroners release said.
Shireen Soofi of No One is Illegal said the vigil will be held outside the CBSA office in downtown Vancouver. She said her group’s petition had garnered more than 800 signatures by press time Wednesday.
“We’re calling for CBSA to be held accountable to this tragedy because Lucia did die under their custody,” said Soofi. “So far there’s only been one investigation by RCMP in Richmond and they claimed there was no criminal cause, however we find it extremely inappropriate to have a police-on-police investigation.”
Josh Paterson of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said independent oversight must be brought in, pointing to the Independent Investigations Office for policing.
Paterson said the CBSA has no accountability mechanism other than accepting emailed complaints.
“We don’t think having a complaint email published on a website is sufficient for a police agency,” he said. “That’s more the level of service we would expect from some small businesses than a national police force.”
The CBSA defended its holding facilities in a release Wednesday.
“The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has national detention standards, which are consistent with international standards, for its immigration holding centres,” read the statement. “The CBSA’s detention facilities, whether in its own immigration holding centres or in corrections facilities, are regularly monitored by independent organizations, namely the Red Cross and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees).”