Mexican teen deported from Canada makes daring return to Toronto

Daily Brew

Deported back to her native Mexico last fall, Josette Rosenzweig Issasi has returned to Canada after a daring escape, including stops in four different countries.

"If Canada's immigration authorities had known about it, Josette would not be on that plane," said Jeffery Wilson, a lawyer in Toronto who assisted Issasi with her return, in a Toronto Star story.

Circumventing the combined efforts of Mexican and Canadian officials - the latter making things difficult with a number of obstacles - Issasi, 14,  returned to Toronto where she was previously under the care of her aunt.

Having fled from the alleged physically abusive care of her mother in Cancun, Issasi became a convention refugee in Canada in May of last year.

No more than five months later, Issasi was removed from her chemistry class at Toronto's Central Technical School and ordered deported back to Mexico.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that Issasi must return to Canada for a hearing pertaining to her future, a ruling they were unable to enforce due to a lack of jurisdiction in Mexico.

A terrified Issasi had fled from her mother for the second time a month ago, finding asylum somewhere in Mexico. She resurfaced on the grid two weeks later in the form of a 90-minute interview with the Toronto Star.

Showing disapproval of her daughter's potential escape back to Canada, Issasi's mother, Marlen Issasi Rodriguez, wrote an email to a Toronto Star reporter pleading for someone to intervene.

"It doesn't need to be this way," wrote Rodriguez, according to the story. "Please, speak to my daughter, and may she come back to her senses. I don't want to lose her. Please, help me."

Determined to return to her aunt in Toronto, Issasi was forced to overcome many obstacles in order to flee her native Mexico.

Canadian immigration was in possession of her Mexican passport, making travel all the more difficult. And to make matters worse, Rodriguez had enlisted the help of Mexican police to track down her daughter before she could flee.

"Apparently, she's been put on a no-fly list," said Wilson in the story. "The kid was getting crazy in hiding. I was concerned that her fear level was getting crazy."

Wilson initially planned to send Issasi to the Canadian embassy in Mexico City, but Ottawa made it explicitly clear Canadian diplomats would only permit entrance to Canadian citizens.

Issasi's aunt, Josette Rosenzweig Espinal, then flew to Mexico where she and her niece fled to neighbouring Guatemala. The two then hid in the Guatemalan capital until earlier this week when Issasi's travel documents had been processed by the Canadian authorities.

Espinal's spouse, Madelaine Oquendo, flew to Guatemala City to deliver the documents to Issasi and her aunt.

A plan to travel to El Salvador, where they would board a non-stop flight from San Salvador to Toronto, was temporarily foiled when border officials would not allow Issasi to board without approval from the Canadian embassy in Guatemala.

Canadian diplomats eventually authorized Issasi to board the plane to engage in the final leg of her multi-national clandestine return to Toronto.

Issasi was scheduled to attend a hearing in a Toronto court today.

"I was very nervous during the trip," said Issasi in the story. "Now I am very emotional, very happy."