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'Three amigos' fighting deportation




Ross Romaniuk


Nowhere to go, no way to make money. And not much to do except wait and worry.



Buong Teksto

WINNIPEG -- Nowhere to go, no way to make money. And not much to do except wait and worry.

Winnipeg's so-called three amigos remain on shaky legal ground in their efforts to fight deportation from Canada. After another hearing Wednesday in a series of court dates since the Filipinos were discovered working illegally at a gas station in Thompson, Man., last June, their case is on hold until March 15.

The latest effort by their lawyer, David Matas, at an admissibility hearing was to ask for certain federal border or immigration officials and inspectors to be in court for cross-examination. But those officials were not made available.

So Arnisito Gaviola, Antonio Laroya and Ermie Zotomayor will continue to rely on accommodations and donations provided by supporters, while saying they can't earn money to send home to their families in the Philippines.

"We are waiting for a long time since we were arrested. We feel hardship and difficulties in our situation," Gaviola told reporters at a downtown church after the latest court session. "Our families in our country are now affected too much."

The three men in their 40s say their employer in Thompson failed to complete proper documents for them to work legally in Canada. They could return to the Philippines now, but Matas says that wouldn't help the men or their families.

"What they would do on leaving is go back to a situation from which they came -- an impoverished country where they have no real job prospects," he said.

The "amigos" -- which they call themselves after traveling together to work for several years -- have applied for temporary Canadian residence permits and work permits.


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Pampublikong Kamalayan

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Manitoba and Pilipinas