Eight questions activists want answered about the in-custody death of Lucia Vega Jiménez

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      This morning (September 29), a B.C. coroner and jury began considering testimonies and evidence related to the in-custody death of Lucia Vega Jiménez.

      Jiménez, 42, was a Mexican immigrant who passed away in December 2013 in hospital days after she reportedly hung herself at Vancouver International Airport. She was awaiting deportation in the custody of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

      On September 24, the Straight reported that a coalition of groups that focus on immigration, refugees, and Latin American issues, was denied permission to participate in the coroner’s inquest.

      To coincide with the inquest’s opening, those groups held a press conference outside the Coroner’s Court in Burnaby earlier today.

      A rally and vigil are planned for 6:30 p.m. this evening at Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Vancouver office at 300 West Georgia Street.

      In the meantime, the coalition of immigration groups has released a list of questions they hope to see answered by the coroner’s inquest.

      1. Why did CBSA not immediately report Vega Jiménez’s death?
      2. What happened that caused her to commit suicide?
      3. Why was she in the custody of private security guards who allegedly lacked knowledge of situations specific to migrants?
      4. Why did it take so long to get her to a hospital?
      5. What happened to Vega Jiménez’s savings?
      6. What role, if any, did the Consulate General of Mexico in Vancouver play in supporting Vega Jiménez’s family? Why they did not say anything?
      7. What was the situation while Vega Jiménez was in detention at Vancouver International Airport?
      8. What sort of access, if any, did she have to health and legal services while in CBSA custody?

      “With these questions in mind, we mobilize migrants and civil liberties groups to call for answers,” reads an email from Byron Cruz, a Vancouver-based migrant-rights activist.

      The inquest is expected to continue at the Coroner’s Court in Burnaby through the week.

      Comments

      9 Comments

      cathy

      Sep 30, 2014 at 8:08am

      Great list of questions.
      It's too bad the Coroner's office denied permission to the coalition of immigrant groups who posed these questions to participate in the inquest. Their eight questions need answers.

      Will other groups allowed to participate take this list to the inquest and try to get answers?
      Will the truth of what happened to Lucia Vega Jimenez be found out?
      Or will this inquest leave unanswered questions and those responsible not held to account for what they did or didn't do?
      That's the question now.

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      The Source

      Sep 30, 2014 at 1:51pm

      ONE question everyone else wants answered: how is it that this illegal alien who had no business being here is now being hailed as some kind of martyr?

      cathy

      Oct 1, 2014 at 8:35am

      Update-Excerpts from Media Release from BC Civil Liberties Association:

      "The CBSA officer dealing with Lucia admitted on the stand that the agency suspected that Lucia had possible mental health issues. Worse than simply doing nothing to help her, the picture emerging in these allegations is that CBSA's actions appear to have prevented Lucia from accessing care that the detention centre medical team had planned for her - care that might have saved her life."

      Referring to changes since her death:
      "The changes strongly suggest that there was a problem to begin with. If these changes work, that's a positive thing, but it's tragic that someone died before the problem was fixed. And this was only one of the problems that potentially contributed to her death."

      Full release:
      http://createsend.com/t/j-FDBE4DF72EB6E8D8

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      The Source

      Oct 1, 2014 at 11:11am

      @ cathy

      And why the f**k is that even our problem?

      What is your investment in this (dead) Mexican who ILLEGALLY entered the country and had no business being here in the first place?

      alice

      Oct 2, 2014 at 8:03am

      @the source

      Because as a human being this could have been prevented, even the worst of criminals (and this woman wasn't a criminal BTW) deserve a better treatment and assessment of their situation, I bet you the officers that handled her just didn't care much they were like yeah another case whatever, instead of treating her like a person and being empathic with her, also it took weeks for her to receive legal aid, which is kinda fishy because the officers should have pointed her in the right direction. Yes she was illegal and this is not up for debate but maybe have she or any other person detained were treated more like humans and less like a case this wouldn't have happened.
      BTW you are very ignorant and insensitive

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      Ed

      Oct 2, 2014 at 8:08am

      The source

      Maybe Cathy's investment is that no one cared she wasn't stable, they just dismissed her symptoms, she could have been any of us friend or family member. This shouldn't have happened and her deportation could have been handled way better. Canada is a first world country and this disregard of the basic humans rights is just unacceptable.

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      Sylvia

      Oct 2, 2014 at 8:15am

      This could have been any loved one, that detention center isn't always for immigrants, is for anyone (even citizens) to be detained, so this could have happened to your brother, sister or mom. That makes it our problem, not because someone is illegal means they deserve to die, get a grip people, no one is questioning the deportation, she probably deserved to be deported as there are many ways to be in Canada legally, but the suicide could have been prevented if they have payed more attention.

      How would you feel if a family member was detained there and then you find out they killed themselves

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      The Source

      Oct 2, 2014 at 4:12pm

      @ Ed / alice

      Spare me your bullshit platitudes. We have plenty in need right here at home, but you choose to take this up because it gives you chance to feed your self-righteous vanity and egos.

      Mexico has some of the harshest laws in the world for illegal detainees, which make this country look like a holiday resort by comparison. And you want to make it even more so!

      How about we place the next group of Third World illegals into YOUR homes so you can personally look after them and truly show us how much you care?

      Thought so.

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      The Source

      Oct 2, 2014 at 4:12pm

      @ Sylvia

      My family members aren’t in the habit of sneaking into countries illegally, so I wouldn’t know.

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