Salvadoran with AIDS can stay in Canada

Lied about prostitution when he entered country

Andrew Duffy Southam News Saturday, November 20, 1999

OTTAWA – A Federal Court judge has suspended the deportation of a Salvadoran man, now suffering from AIDS, who concealed a series of prostitution convictions to get into Canada and was convicted of assault with a weapon once he was here.

Judge Pierre Blais lifted the deportation order just hours before Jose Mauricio Jimenez, 41, of London, Ont., was to board a plane for his native El Salvador. Judge Blais said evidence suggests Mr. Jimenez may not be able to get the medication there that he needs to control his disease. Mr. Jimenez currently receives the drugs free under a provincial drug plan.

“I believe that the applicant could suffer irreparable harm if he’s deported,” Judge Blais concluded. Mr. Jimenez will now be allowed to remain in Canada while the Federal Court decides whether to review his case on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Last November, an immigration review officer rejected his application for landing and ordered him out of the country. The review officer said he was criminally and medically inadmissible to Canada when he originally claimed refugee status back in February, 1989, and did not deserve special consideration.

“There is every indication that the subject will continue to be a burden on Canadian society, namely our social and medical services,” the officer said in his written decision, adding: “The burden on Canadian society outweighs the humanitarian and compassionate grounds in this case.”

Mr. Jimenez’s lawyer, Terry Guerriero, had argued that the “negative effects of his past sins” were outweighed by his medical and family circumstances.

According to court records, Mr. Jimenez came to Canada after spending at least six years in California, where he worked as a prostitute. He was convicted of at least three prostitution-related offences and resisting arrest between 1983 and 1988.

Mr. Jimenez did not disclose the convictions when he entered Canada and applied for refugee status because he feared they would make him ineligible. Canadian law requires that refugees reveal their criminal records, and those with serious convictions can be barred entry.

During a medical examination required by immigration officials, Mr. Jimenez discovered he was HIV-positive. He entered a treatment program in London, Ont.

In 1990, he was convicted of assault with a weapon for a night-time attack on a man in a public park in London. The victim had warned other people in the park that Mr. Jimenez had AIDS and Mr. Jimenez threatened him with a knife.

Mr. Jimenez received a suspended sentence and two years of probation for the assault. Based on the conviction, however, immigration officials ordered him out of the country. Mr. Jimenez appealed and eventually applied to Lucienne Robillard, the former immigration minister, for permission to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

In 1997, the minister approved his application since he was by then suffering from full-blown AIDS. His parents and sister, all landed residents in Canada, were taking care of him in London.

But Mr. Jimenez was still facing a valid deportation order. He was told to do what is known as “the Buffalo Shuffle,” in which the immigration department executes the deportation order and then processes the case again when the individual comes back across the border.

But the Americans refused to let Mr. Jimenez into the country, citing his criminal record. It was the first that Canadian officials had heard of the convictions and it led the minister to withdraw her support. The deportation order against him was renewed.

In a recent letter filed with the court, Dr. Janet Gilmour of the HIV care program at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in London said Mr. Jimenez is now “clinically stable.” But any interruption in his treatment, she said, “would result in a significant and prompt deterioration in his clinical and physical well-being.” Without treatment, she said, Mr. Jimenez “would experience rapid clinical decline and early death.”