‘We are people trying to be Canadian’: Northern Ontario family fears for their safety, faces deportation to Mexico

To shared

A Sudbury-area mother and her two daughters face deportation to Mexico Feb. 28 and say they fear for their safety if they are forced to return.

Monica De Jesus Facundo and her two daughters fled Mexico, arriving in Canada as refugees in 2019.

Facundo said they left after the cartel threatened her mother-in-law in 2018, after one of her son’s was selling drugs. The threat, she says, was extended to the whole family.

The girls’ father currently lives in France and the family told CTV News he was unable to get a travel permit.

Facundo said they stayed in a shelter in Toronto and applied for social housing in Greater Sudbury.

“I was looking around on internet about Sudbury and it was a good city,” she said.

“It looks really, really nice and I say ‘why not?”

The family moved to Sudbury in November 2019 and at the time they barely knew any English, according to Facundo.

Since then, the mother has secured a job at a restaurant and the two daughters are honour students.


“We love Sudbury,” Facundo said.

“This is our lives now. Our family’s here, our friends are here.”

She said she applied for the Humanitarian and Compassionate relief but was denied last July. Immigration Canada denied her refugee request, stating there was insufficient evidence to support that the family would be in danger if they return to Mexico.

Facundo said she fears for her daughters’ safety if they are sent back.

“I can’t imagine going back to Mexico with my two daughters,” she said.

“They can be kidnapped, raped, disappear, I don’t know.”

Facundo told CTV News she has considered leaving them in Canada to keep them safe.

“My first sentiment was leave my daughters behind in Sudbury,” she said.

“I would rather they stay here with somebody else than go back to Mexico.”

Mario Bellissimo, an immigration lawyer who is not representing the case, said situations like this are unfortunate, but common.

“There’s many each year. They’re heartbreaking cases,” Bellissimo said.

He said there are often instances where Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can’t find enough sufficient evidence to support that there’s danger back home.

“The Facundo family allege fear of persecution, back in their country for reasons I don’t know, but were not able to establish that to the satisfaction of Canadian authority.”

Bellissimo said, in these instances, those fighting to stay in Canada have to undergo a pre-removal risk assessment, where they can present any new evidence to support their safety concerns. If that fails, he said they will have to appear before CBSA for a stay hearing.

“You’d be saying ‘look, there’s emergency circumstances why we can’t be removed, and that could be the girls’ school year, not interrupting that school year,” Bellissimo said.

He told CTV News that stopping the removal can buy the family six or seven months, to examine other options.

The Facundo family currently have a lawyer representing them.

The lawyer’s fees were estimated at around $18,000, which Facundo said she could not afford.

Facundo’s friend, Sylvia Scaife, set up a GoFundMe page to assist the family with their legal fees.

As of Feb. 22, the campaign has raised over $4,500.

They’ve also been in contact with Sudbury MP, Viviane Lapointe, to see if there’s anything more they can do.

In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson for Lapointe’s office said they could not comment on ongoing legal matters, but said “Our office is now making the necessary inquiries to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for additional details and next steps,” the email read.

“We are working to determine what avenues would be available to Monica and her children.”

Facundo said she desperately wants to stay in Sudbury and wants people to know that her family are good people.

”We are people trying to be Canadian,” she said.

“I just want to stay here. I’ve just been working hard trying to make a home for my daughters.”

To shared