Melgar Family Update

They don't have to leave just yet, but time is running out for an Oliver family.

The Melgar family has been ordered to leave Canada by November 30 by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

The family has been seeking an extension on a departure date that would force them to return to their native El Salvador.

The Melgars have been working on the farm of Linda Fortunato since they came to Canada and she has been lobbying on their behalf to keep the family in the country.

On Wednesday, Fortunato announced the departure date has been extended to allow the family to stay long enough to receive a passport for their daughter, but says the government needs to do more to help the Melgars stay in Canada.

She says German and Santos Melgar have been living in Canada for the last five years and have two Canadian-born children, three-year-old Anderson and seven-week-old Kimberley.

Fortunato says making the family return to El Savalador is a death sentence.

“The Melgars could face torture and death if they return to El Salvador because German was a member of a political party that stood in opposition to the current El Salvadoran government. Their family in El Salvador has received death threats. We have submitted an application for them to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. The government has given us no response to it and we are getting very frustrated,” says Fortunato.

She says they are feeling ignored by the government.

“We've had no contact from either the provincial or federal government and the family needs help from both of them. We just want the ministers to take the time to review the information we have given them. Once they do I'm sure it would be impossible for them to force the family out of the country,” says Fortunato.

Earlier this month, Fortunato organized a rally in front of Stockwell Day's Penticton office and over 50 people came out to support the family. She says they have received no response from Day.

“We are starting to feel that our MP's think they run the country without us and only call on the citizens during voting season. On a provincial level, I have contacted the MLAs office and all they would say is they have 'done everything they can.' But 'everything they can' is not allowing a good family to die,” says Fortunato.

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