Luis Alberto Mata: One Less Life in Limbo

On Thursday May 21, Luis Alberto Mata became a permanent resident in Canada. 

A month earlier, with support from Amnesty International, Luis launched a campaign, No Lives in Limbo calling on the Minister of Public Safety and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant him permanent status. Luis was recognized as a Convention Refugee in Canada in 2003, and then waited 12 years for a decision on his application for permanent residence.  Amnesty International supported Luis and his family over those 12 years.

Following is part of a message from Luis to those who supported him.


As I begin this reflection, it comes to my mind a profound and beautiful adage from Aristotle:  “Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them”.

Indeed and without doubt, I always have had the conviction that I deserve my permanent residence in Canada. Not only because my appreciation and respect for this country and its democratic institutions, but also because I have worked hard, paid taxes, and volunteered with happiness. I have raised my son in a very honorable way, and I have respectfully followed all those rules that govern this society. Certainly, with my family, we have contributed with humbleness and enthusiasm to make Canada a better place to live!

Infinite gratefulness to my present lawyer, and to past lawyers as well, to the Mennonite church, to Amnesty International, to CASA-LACSN, to New Life Center, to FCJ Refugee Centre, to those journalists that gave me public voice, to those who have written messages, letters and independent reports, to all people and other organizations who supported my campaign. We hope the campaign will continue in solidarity with others facing situations of limbo in Canada.

I’m also grateful to the Canadian authorities that finally processed my application based on the real evidence, particularly to the immigration officer who concluded that I am not inadmissible to Canada, and to the Federal Department of Justice which gave me back hope when they confirmed I had passed my background clearance.”

While Luis’ case has been resolved, hundreds of other people remain in an immigration limbo in Canada as a result of wide ranging inadmissibility provisions in Canadian law that go well beyond what is permitted by the Refugee Convention. 

Amnesty International continues to work with refugees like Luis who come to Canada in search of safety and protection.

For More Information see: Toronto Star May 16 2015