Subject: Canadians accused of trafficking Mexican children
From: Bruce Harris - Casa Alianza (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Feb 03 2000 - 15:24:48 EST
Mexican group accuses
B.C. couple of
smuggling children to
Documents suspect: Five children
have no status here
A Mexican children's
organization has accused a
Vancouver couple of smuggling
five children into Canada, after
discovering that the information
on their Mexican birth
certificates is false.
The children, who now range in
age from seven to 11, were
brought into Canada as
newborns and currently live in
White Rock with the couple,
who operate an adult video store
Mexico's ministry for children has asked Canadian
authorities to clarify the status of the children,
stating that they "appear to have been adopted in an
irregular fashion," according to a letter sent last
month to Stanley Gooch, Canada's ambassador to
"We want to find the children's real parents. There
was no process of adoption and we don't know if
these kids were robbed from Mexico," says Juan
Manuel Estrada, the director of Mexico's
Foundation for Lost and Stolen Children (FIND).
The case has been investigated by several
government agencies in Canada, including B.C.'s
Ministry for Children and Family Services, who
are trying to locate the children's biological parents
"The information in the birth certificates is false
and we have asked Mexican child welfare
authorities to identify who these children are and to
find out if there is a family member who wants to
care for them," said Ross Dawson, the ministry's
director of child protection.
Mr. Dawson said the children are well cared for by
the Canadian couple, and "fully integrated" into life
here, as "Canadian" as native-born children.
However, the five have no immigration status in
Canada and the parents are not legally considered
to be their guardians, according to Mr. Dawson.
Although the story has received no attention in
Canada, Reforma, a newspaper in Mexico, where
child-trafficking is a multi-million-dollar business,
has covered it extensively.
The White Rock couple, who are not being
identified to protect the identity of the children,
arrived from Mexico with two of the newborns in
1990. According to Reforma, they told authorities
they were the couple's illegitimate sons.
Later, authorities found two more Mexican boys
and a girl in the home. The couple told authorities
the children had been given to them by a Canadian
friend who could no longer care for them.
In 1995, the couple tried to legally adopt these
three children, but neither the authenticity of the
birth certificates nor the identity of the parents
could be confirmed and the adoption was rejected.
The landed immigrant status for the first two
children was also revoked.
The status of all five children is now in limbo, said
"There is no clarity as to who parented the children
or how they came to Canada. We can't recommend
adoption until we trace the parents," said Mr.
The RCMP has investigated the case, but laid no
charges because of a lack of evidence, said
Constable Dave Rasmussen, with the immigration
and passport unit.
Immigration authorities said privacy legislation
precludes them from commenting on the case.
But Jo Ann Carmichael, the lawyer representing the
couple, said the family is trying to "formalize the
parenting arrangement" of the children in court.
"I cannot comment on the smuggling allegations,"
she said. "I can say the children are happy, healthy,
well-loved and in a secure home."
Mr. Dawson said he met with the Mexican
consulate last week to discuss how to remedy the
situation in the event no family members in Mexico
can be located.
Nearly 250 Mexican children have been adopted in
Canada since 1990, the majority of them in Quebec,
according to Mr. Estrada, who plans to investigate
all those cases and verify their legitimacy. He is
currently trying to repatriate 17 Mexican babies
adopted illegally in the U.S.
Mr. Estrada is convinced the B.C. case amounts to
"I am worried there are more cases like this in
Canada. It doesn't matter that the children are well
cared for," he said. "The point is the kids were
taken from Mexico illegally and the parents lied."
Casa Alianza/Covenant House Latin America
PO Box 025216, Miami FL 33102-5216 USA
Tel. in Costa Rica: +506-253-5439 or 253-6338
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Home page address: http://www.casa-alianza.org
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