Paola Ortiz says she still lives in fear of her ex-husband, a federal police officer in Mexico who she says abused her physically and emotionally after they got married.
She tried fleeing once, according to press reports, only to be hunted down by her husband’s friends and taken back to him. The reports say he kept her locked in the house for a while before she managed to get away again, eventually flying to Canada with the help of her father.
Ortiz, who arrived in Canada in 2006, applied for political asylum, saying that her husband’s position with the Mexican federal police made him immune to prosecution, according to the Montreal Gazette.
Now, Ortiz, 30, is being ordered back to Mexico by Canadian immigration officials, who have refused her request for political asylum. Ortiz is scheduled to be returned to Mexico on Tuesday.
The case has drawn wide attention in Canada, where human rights groups have closely tracked it and advocated on her behalf.
Canadian officials say they refused her request, according to the Montreal Gazette, because there are services in Mexico for victims of domestic violence.
But Ortiz and her supporters, including the human rights group Solidarity Across Borders, counter that in Mexico these services are deficient, and that her ex-husband’s interests in Mexico take priority over her own because of his position with the government.
Her lawyer, Stewart Istvanffy, was going to try to have her deportation delayed, according to the newspaper.
A psychiatrist in Canada diagnosed Ortiz with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, she is taking medication for anxiety and depression, the Montreal Gazette reported.
Ortiz remarried in Canada, and has two children who were born there.
Ortiz also is concerned that the quality of medical care her two young children are getting for their medical conditions will be difficult to find in Mexico, according to the newspaper.
Her four-year-old daughter, the newspaper says, is hearing-impaired and needs surgery, and her son, who is two years old, has autism.
Solidarity Across Borders, a human rights group that is supporting Ortiz, condemned the Canadian government's decision.
"By constantly threatening Paola and her family with deportation, the Canadian government is acting as an accomplice to the sexist violence that Paola has endured," the group said on its website. "The government is ignoring. . .its human rights obligations and its obligations towards refugees."