Spring Fund-raising Drive

Olimometer 2.52  Amount raised : $4005

In a time of mounting racism, Ivonne Hernandez’s story broke through indifference and cynicism and for a brief time became a symbol in Quebec of the struggle of non-status women against multiple levels of violence and oppression.

Video of Ivonne’s story (in French).

As told in the media, the story starts in December when Ivonne fled to a shelter with her 1-year old son to escape a situation of domestic violence. Her husband promptly retaliated by denouncing her to authorities, as he had long threatened to do. The consequences were immediate and harsh: first, her son was taken from her care because of her vulnerable immigration status and then Ivonne was arrested in a public take-down arranged between her husband and the border police. Detained at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, she faced deportation to Mexico, with the very real possibility that she would never see her son again.

But the complicity of Canadian and Quebec authorities with an abusive husband shocked and outraged Quebeckers, sparking a strong mobilization of feminist and migrant justice organizations. The public outcry led to Ivonne’s speedy release from detention and, soon afterwards, a suspension of the deportation order against her. The family court quickly followed suit by restoring custody  to Ivonne and she was reunited with her son in February.

In reality, Ivonne’s courageous decision to speak out had been taken long before the difficult events of the past few months. She was in fact active in the migrant justice movement in Montreal; organizing with Mexicans United for Regularization and volunteering at the Medecins du monde migrant clinic. This is the background to the rapid and important public reaction to her arrest.

One legacy of the actions of her husband with the CBSA is a huge bill for legal costs. This has already mounted to more than $6000.

There is no way that Ivonne should have to shoulder these costs alone. Justice should not come with a price tag. Ivonne has supported many other community members and her courage in speaking out has inspired many and contributed greatly to the cause of migrant justice. It is time for others now to step forward and contribute to paying off these huge legal costs.

PLEASE DONATE to help with legal costs – no amount is too small or too large.

Details on making a donation (online, cheque or cash) are here.