Intent To Sponsor Mohamed Cherfi: Prominent Community Members Needed Immediately


A valid Quebec sponsor currently exists for Mohamed Cherfi, a non-status
Algerian community leader who was torn from church sanctuary and deported
to the US last Friday. However, Quebec
Immigration has thus far ignored this legitimate option for landing him.
Therefore, mobilizing a group sponsorship would provide still another
means of ensuring Mohamed's safe return to Canada. In order to accomplish
this, we urgently need supportive community leaders to pledge their intent
to act as sponsors.

Mohamed's recent application for landing, considered under the special
procedure won by the non-status Algerian campaign, was denied on the basis
that he lacked 'integration' into Quebec society. Regardless of the weight
and enormity of his contribution over the past 7 years of life in Canada,
Mohamed is also entitled to protection in consideration of the civil
conflict in Algeria and the risk of his deportation to Algeria via the
United States. These risks are linked to the fact that he was the
spokesperson of the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians for almost
two years, and in Algeria, the defenders of human rights are prime
targets. Mohamed had made an initial claim for refugee status, which was
refused, after he fled Algeria as a conscientious objector, having refused
to do compulsory military service that would have forced him into the
civil conflict in Algeria.

As part of the long-term struggle for the regularization of all non-status
persons, refugee claimants have often been obliged to find 'sponsors'
before they will even be considered for status in Canada. If you are a
citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you can potentially be a sponsor
to a refugee claimant. Group members act as guarantors that the necessary
support will be provided for the full the duration of the sponsorship.
Immigration Canada usually requires a one year commitment from sponsors.

Although Mohamed is currently in detention in the US, in the custody of
the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly the INS), it
is their practice to deport to any country which allows entry of the
immigrant being deported to any country which allows entry to the
immigrant being deported. Thus, if the Canadian government allows Mohamed
to come home to Canada, he can be brought back from US custody.

We are calling on prominent members of labour unions and locals, faith
groups, not-for-profit, and community organizations to pledge their intent
to sponsor Mohamed Cherfi, should the Minister continue to ignore the
sponsorship application currently under consideration.

This would be a tangible act of solidarity not only with Mohamed as an
individual, but also as a leader of a courageous and immensely successful
self-organized community of Algerian refugee claimants, and thus with the
fight for justice for refugees and immigrants as a whole.

The fight for Mohamed's return must take place on as many levels as
possible. It is imperative that a precedent be set, that such political
retribution on the part of the Canadian government against non-status
people will not be tolerated. We must bring Mohamed home.

If you can act as a sponsor, please call immediately:
Sarah Vance (416) 806-4983