‘Three Amigos’ Face Immigration Hearing Today

By David Klassen

Arnisito Gaviola, Antonio Laroya and Ermie Zotomayor hope to remain in Canada after being faced with the possibility of deportation back to the Philippines. (HANDOUT)

Three Filipino men living in Winnipeg who could be deportated from Canada will face an immigration hearing today to learn their fate.

Arnisito Gaviola, Antonio Laroya and Ermie Zotomayor — named the ‘Three Amigos’ — have received representation by prominent lawyer and human rights advocate David Matas.

The three fathers found out on Monday that their Legal Aid application had been approved.

Matas has told the three fathers to apply for “restoration of status” and “temporary residence” permits that would allow them to work in Canada.

The men have been the centre of attention the last several weeks, with churches, political leaders and the community behind them.

The three arrived in Canada in 2007, taking jobs in Alberta at a gas station. When they transferred to a gas station in Thompson, Manitoba they were told they could not legally work in the country. In June, they were arrested and haven’t been allowed to work since spring due to improper paperwork.

Advocates for the men are hoping today’s hearing allows them to stay in Canada. Without work permits, the men haven’t been able to earn a living to send money back home to their families.

The hearings are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

UPDATE: The hearings were postponed today until early next year. The men will be able to stay in Canada for the time being while they await further hearings in January.


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