Lucy Granados: Health Professionals and Friends Fear Long-Term Impact of CBSA Abuse
Human Rights Complaint against CBSA actions at Quebec Commission des droits de la personne in preparation
5 April 2018, Montreal — Friends and health professionals today provided disturbing details of the CBSA’s treatment of Lucy Francineth Granados and its impact on the 42-year old single mother. Lucy is currently in immigration detention and faces deportation to Guatemala on Friday, April 13th. Despite Montreal’s aspirations to be a sanctuary city, Lucy was arrested by the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) in Montreal on March 20th.
Lucy’s arrest involved “unnecessary and disproportionate physical force – with at least one CBSA agent grabbing her left arm and neck forcefully, resulting in their injury” says a recent psychiatric report citing Lucy. The report continues, “When interviewed, she wore a sling on her left arm and could not move it during the interview. … There is a 10cm diameter bruising and swelling at the back of her neck, evident 5 days after the arrest. Ms Granados stated that she was neither dangerous nor threatening during the arrest but that she was in a significant state of panic. Since then, Ms Granados has been having flashbacks of her arrest.”
The report concludes that Lucy is suffering from Acute Stress Disorder resulting from her arrest. She is at risk of developing PTSD if there are “ongoing life stressors” such as continued detention and deportation.
“Lucy Francineth Granados has suffered the impact of precarity on her physical and psychological health for many years. Since she was arrested, her health has greatly deteriorated. Detention, the stress and fear imposed on her can have long-term negative effects on her health," corroborated Nazila Bettache, a doctor and specialist in internal medicine at the Centre hospitalier de l'université de Montréal, adding “This must cease immediately, to allow her to regain the stability she needs”.
According to this doctor, after being detained, Lucy has had an incident of loss of consciousness with possible cardiac arrest, and was twice sent for emergency hospitalization. A third time, she was brought to the detention centre infirmary.
In the hospital, Lucy’s feet were shackled together, despite the presence of two CBSA guards at the door. She was not permitted any calls or visitors. The CBSA did not inform her lawyer of Lucy’s hospitalization on either occasion. For several hours, friends were unable to locate her.
“I have seen my friend become so disoriented by the aftershocks of her violent arrest that she could not finish a sentence without breaking into tears. I have seen my friend’s suffering ignored, minimized and exacerbated as if she did not have the capacity to feel pain, loss, humiliation, sadness.” said Alonso Gamarra, a friend who has been regularly visiting her in detention. “In the visiting room, she repeated what she’d been saying to me on the phone since Thursday: ‘I don’t even know what my name is anymore,’” he added.
The psychiatric evaluation states that Lucy’s emotional well-being had suffered since 2012, when her refugee claim was refused. It notes an increase in her symptoms of being “sad, discouraged, persistently anxious” with “recurrent and frequent panic attacks” since a phone call by a CBSA agent to Lucy’s lawyer in late January.
“This agent informed Lucy’s lawyer that her application for permanent residence on humanitarian grounds – her only means of regularizing her status in Canada – would not be opened unless she turned herself in for arrest and deportation. This was not only a false threat (the file had already been opened), but a misrepresentation of the law, which obliges the Minister to review all applications.” explained Amy Darwish of Solidarity Across Borders.
Lucy’s many supporters have spoken out against the treatment of their friend and, with the help of the Immigrant Workers Centre, are currently preparing a human rights complaint at Quebec’s Commission des droits de la personne.
“We don’t want to let this pass in silence, as though it were normal. But, we are concerned that, in order to hide their illegal and abusive behaviour, CBSA will not give fair consideration to Lucy’s application for a stay of deportation, first filed on 23 March. Her lawyer has still received no response to this application. Until she receives a response, Lucy will not be able to go to Federal Court to try to stop the deportation. We fear there won’t be enough time. We want Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to act.” said Darwish.
Despite support for Lucy across the country, including an on-going Sit-In at Montreal CBSA offices launched Tuesday, federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale have so far failed to show any humanity or compassion.
Lucy has lived in Montreal for nine years where she actively contributes to community groups working for the rights of other undocumented women and workers.
514-992-1662, 438 933 7654, 514 222 0205
Let Lucy Stay Campaign page: https://bit.ly/2GrwsZk
Solidarity Across Borders
Immigrant Workers Centre
Tél. 514 342 2111