Thirty-three-year-old Samer came to Canada in the spring of 2019 through the irregular border crossing at Roxham Road.
He had been living in the United States for 13 years where he had a work visa and owned an electronics store. He also came out to his family in Jordan as bisexual when he was in his 20s.
In May 2019, his electronics store in Cleveland, Ohio, was robbed and vandalized with racist graffiti, leaving him feeling unsafe and unwelcome in the U.S.
Without putting much thought into it or seeking legal advice, Samer fled for the border to claim refugee status in Canada, where he thought he would live a better, safer life.
But it wasn’t the fairy tale ending he was hoping for.
Samer was denied status almost immediately because he has a criminal record in the U.S after a car accident that killed his best friend when he was 18-years-old.
Samer was then detained here in Canada and faced what he says were inhumane conditions from the Canada Border Service Agency. He was also denied re-entry into the United States.
Now, facing deportation on Monday, Samer says if he is deported back to Jordan his family will kill him for being bisexual.
“My family had threatened me multiple times verbally by phones and also letters-wise, socially-wise, social media-wise,” said Samer during a Saturday afternoon virtual press conference organized by AGIR, an LBTGQ+ Migrant support group. “They want to kill me because of my sexual orientation and faith change.”
Samer’s lawyer, Stewart Istvanffy, says the CBSA abused his client’s rights since the beginning.
“I don’t believe that there were any serious legal justifications for his original detention,” said Istvanffy. “Each one of his detentions has been extremely questionable.”
Samer has been kept in detention four times since arriving to Quebec because the CBSA deemed him as a flight risk.
During his detention, Samer says he was abused and taunted with homophobic slurs and he was allegedly sexually assaulted. He was also asked to wear an ankle bracelet that eventually caused severe infections on both ankles.
AGIR, along with Samer’s lawyer, are now pleading for the federal government to step in. They are asking for both Public Security Minister Bill Blair and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino to grant Samer a temporary visa while his case is fully reviewed.
“All we can do with AGIR’s help is appeal to these people that what they’re doing to Samer does not represent fundamental Canadian values,” said Istvanffy. “This would be a violation of everything that makes this country great.”
In an email, a spokesperson for Minister Blair told Global News they are unable to comment on individual cases.
Samer is expected to hear a decision on Monday.
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