Date: 2003-07-01


The Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) has joined the chorus of voices calling for just treatment of a Mexican citizen, Mario Perez, threatened with deportation from Canada. Now 19, Mr. Perez has been in Canada since the age of 5, but has not gained Canadian citizenship.

On July 21, 2003 ACC President Sandra Scarth wrote to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Denis Coderre. She pointed out that the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption requires countries to provide children adopted from abroad with rights equivalent to those resulting from adoptions within Canada, including citizenship.

Ms. Scarth asked the minister to develop a "humane alternative" to deportation so that Mr. Perez could stay in his country by adoption. "He has lost his birth parents, his adoptive mother, his younger sister, and if deported, he will lose his country," she wrote.

Here is the text of the letter:
July 21, 2003

The Honourable Denis Coderre
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E6

Dear Mr. Coderre:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC), a nationally registered non profit organization dedicated to the issues around adoption in Canada.

I am writing about Mario Perez, whose story has been profiled in the press recently. Mario's is a case where many individuals and Canadian statutory authorities responsible for ensuring Mario's best interests have failed him. The Ontario statutory authorities that stood in the place of parents needed to ensure his safety and well being at the earliest possible time, making him a Canadian citizen with all the attendant rights.

The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption was set up to prevent the kind of abusive adoption situation this young boy encountered. The Hague Convention also requires States that are signatories to the Convention to recognize intercountry adoptions under the Convention and provide the child with rights "equivalent to those resulting from adoptions" within Canada. This includes nationality and citizenship.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out special protections for children in unusually difficult circumstances in order to protect their fundamental rights. Mario certainly qualifies. He has lost his birth parents, his adoptive mother, his younger sister, and if deported, he will lose his country.

Canada has played a leadership role in promoting and ratifying both international conventions. All provinces have ratified the conventions. A solution should be found that honours the spirit of the conventions to respect the best interests of the child and specifically to provide Mario with his fundamental human rights.

The Adoption Council of Canada strongly recommends that the governments of Canada and Ontario work together to ensure that a humane alternative to deportation is developed.

We urge you to stay any deportation order, that would return him to an alien environment, away from the only life experience he has known.

Sandra Scarth, President
Adoption Council of Canada
210 - 211 Bronson Avenue
Ottawa (ON) K1R 6H5
(888) 542-3678

Cc: Ms. Brenda Elliott
Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services

Mr. Robert Runciman
Minister of Public Safety and Security

Ms. Jane Stewart
Minister Human Resources Development


Mario Perez, a 19-year-old Ontario man, was born in Mexico.

At two years old Mr. Perez was placed in a Guadalajara orphanage with his sister. Three years later a Toronto woman took Mario, 5, and Gabriella, 4, to Canada for adoption. When Mario was 8 she placed him in the care of the Catholic Children's Aid Society (CCAS), saying she could no longer manage the impulsive boy. He was raised as a Crown ward of Ontario, in foster care, for ten years. During that time no-one applied on his behalf for permanent resident status or citizenship.

Now that he is 19, he faces deportation to Mexico because he was convicted of breaking into homes in Brampton, Ont. Under immigration law, foreign nationals convicted of crimes with potential sentences of 10 years or more face deportation.

Since Mr. Perez was handed the deportation order, his lawyers have asked Citizenship and Immigration Canada, on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, to grant a minister's permit allowing him to stay in Canada and gain permanent-resident status in five years.

Only a recent change in immigration law now allows Mr. Perez to apply for Canadian citizenship. While he was a Crown ward, CCAS wasn't able to apply for citizenship for him before he turned 18. The Immigration Act was changed on June 28, 2002. It allows those under 18 to apply for permanent-resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

In addition, the law in Ontario changed in 2000 to conform with the principles of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Ontario's Intercountry Adoption Act would have given Mr. Perez legal status in Canada.


July 15, 2003, "Orphaned little boy brought to Canada, then surrendered to CAS". The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 15, 2003, "A one-way ticket out of only nation he knows". Article by Margaret Philp, The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 16, 2003, "Teen facing deportation missed out on new law". Article by Richard Mackie, The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 16, 2003, "Mario's story". Letter by Yves Rebetez, in The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 16, 2003, "Mario's story". Letter by Chris Clark, in The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 17, 2003, "Dealing with Perez". Editorial in The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 17, 2003, "We created him". Letter by Michelle Erving, in The Globe and Mail, Toronto

July 21, 2003, "Perez deserves a chance". Editorial in The Gazette, Montreal

July 22, 2003, "Mario Perez". Letter by Mary A. McConville, in The Globe and Mail, Toronto


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