What you can do when you’re controlled by fear, anxiety, and negative emotions
By Margaret Matthews, Senior Columnist
Emotions play an important role in one’s thinking, and when people are under a lot of stress, anxiety, tension, and pressure, they sometimes do things they wouldn’t normally do. One should seek professional advice and counselling to cope with unfortunate situations.
The tragic death in December 2013 of 42-year-old Lucia Vega Jimenez, a hotel worker from Mexico who was awaiting deportation, caused uproar in the city after she committed suicide by hanging herself in the holding cell of the Canadian Border Services Agency at the Vancouver International Airport. The BC Civil Liberties Association called for an investigation to prevent further similar occurrences and found that there was an error of omission in the security.
Jimenez had several stories for why she couldn’t go back to Mexico, including fearing that her “male partner” in Mexico would kill her if she returned, but she did not have the money for legal representation. She had had a brush with the law involving not paying a SkyTrain fare evasion fine, an arrest which resulted in her awaiting deportation.
Jimenez did not have to commit suicide. One option would have been for her to remain calm and advocate to stay in Vancouver. If she definitely had to be deported to Mexico, she could choose to live in another city, far from her partner who, she alleged, threatened to kill her. Since she had some experience as a hotel worker, she could have worked in the trade in another Mexican city, saved her money, and applied for legal entry into Canada as a bona fide immigrant. Going through the correct channels in the right manner would have saved her all the anxiety and turmoil. She could have obtained counselling about other options that might be open to her.
In November 1999, over a dozen Cubans, including five-year-old Elian Gonzalez, crowded onto a small aluminum boat in ill repair and headed for Florida. A storm arose during the crossing, and the overloaded boat sank, resulting in many of those aboard drowning, including Gonzalez’s mother. Gonzalez clung to an inner tube for several days without food, drink, or proper sleep, until someone rescued him. His father, however, still resided in Cuba and was ultimately granted custody of Gonzalez, forcing him to return. When the media last got a hold of him, Gonzalez was a 2o-year-old military cadet studying engineering in Cuba. He is a staunch Cuban Nationalist and proves that migrating to a wealthier country is not necessarily the answer.
Immigration Canada has shown some leniency, and in some instances, has allowed refugees in distress to take up residency here. Canada is recognized as welcoming place that accepts people from different parts of the world, as long as they follow protocol and apply for immigration accordingly.