Tag Archives: Canada

Media whipping up fear for 2020 elections: “Frightened by shootings, appalled at Trump, Americans are voting to leave – with their feet”

I wonder how many of these frightened Americans are just showing up at a country’s border and expecting to obtain illegal entry? Oh wait, they are applying for Visas. Guess only other countries are expected to determine who has the right to enter their country…

From Yahoo: Eleanor Pelta has secured Polish passports for herself and her two sons. Stephanie Schwab is planning an escape route via Spain. Elie Jacobs has begun to keep enough cash on hand to buy last-minute plane tickets to Israel for his family. Alex and Aussa Lorens are applying for work visas in Australia, while Josh Lewin is aiming for New Zealand.

And Kami Lewis Levin already has her bags packed and tickets purchased. She leaves next week, with her husband, three children and a dog, for a new home in Costa Rica.

Americans are not flocking to the exits, but some of them are thinking about it, and some are talking about it, and at least a few are acting on the idea. Google searches for terms like “how to move out of America” spiked this past weekend to levels not seen since November 2016, right after the presidential election, and last seen a decade ago during the Great Recession. And in dozens of interviews after the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, people who were born here spoke of their crystallizing desire to leave.

These are not recent immigrants who feel threatened by nationalist rhetoric coming from the White House and Congress, but for the most part middle-class or relatively affluent Americans disheartened by the turn in American politics since the 2016 election. And it is not necessarily Canada — the default destination for agitated Americans over the decades — where they are threatening to move, because work visa qualifications there are tight. Instead, they are casting a larger net across the globe.

“The text-message threads and FB message threads have surged with questions about how and when to leave,” said Jacobs, a 41-year-old public affairs consultant who lives in New Jersey with his wife and toddler, and who began looking to Israel as an “escape hatch” as soon as Donald Trump was elected, but whose stockpiling of cash took on new urgency this week.

For many, the exploration of the departure gates is a direct response to the current president of the United States and his party. Before 2016, Coloradans Alex and Aussa Lorens were saving up to buy a house; after that they turned their attention to qualifying for a 190 Skilled Nominated visa for Australia, which requires proving English proficiency, a skills assessment and an “expression of intent” letter to those Australian states that are specifically looking for workers in Alex’s industry, which is hospitality.

Among what the couple sees as the many attractions of Australian society — including universal health care and affordable private insurance, mandated parental leave, four weeks of vacation for all workers and strong limits on guns the Lorenses are drawn by the political culture, which, Aussa says, “protects them from a Trump-like outcome.”

“They do not have a major political party that is at all equivalent to our far-right Republicans,” she says. “Their conservative party is more like the moderate Democrats. They don’t argue about whether health care is a basic human right or whether climate change is real. They banned guns after a mass shooting.

For others, the motivation is what they describe as an increasing level of daily fear.

“The way things are going, it’s to where you can’t even take your family out in public because it’s just a matter of time,” says Josh Lewin, 34, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who lives there now with his wife and four sons ages 4 to 14 and works selling commercial security systems. “I need to do something to protect the family and not have to worry about this day in and day out.”

“First it was a shooting once a year, then once every six months, then once a month, and now it’s every day,” he says. “We don’t even bat an eye as a country now. I would like to move somewhere where that isn’t true and my kids don’t have to be afraid.”

He is surprised to feel as he does, both because he knows that statistically the dangers to any one individual or family are quite small, and because he has never been one for strong political opinions, and lives among relatives and friends who are Trump supporters. In fact, he emphasizes, “I’m not trying to choose sides. I am the type to sit back and support whoever is piloting the ship because you want to support your president and not see him fail.”

He has kept his feelings to himself, he says, particularly at work, where other men wear handguns strapped to their ankles at the office and, according to his wife, “joke about mass shootings being a force of natural selection.”

The Lewins have rejected Australia because “they have huge spiders there,” Josh says, and he is about as scared of spiders as he is of mass shootings. He has set New Zealand as his goal, intrigued years ago by the popularity of the extreme sport of “drift triking” — riding nonmotorized Big Wheels-like contraptions down huge hills. (New Zealand does have spiders, but venomous species capable of harming humans are extremely rare.) More recently he has been attracted by the fact that “after one mass shooting there they took steps to make it not so easy for people to get ahold of weapons of war.”

And then, “after the shootings this weekend, I went from a 3 on the scale of how likely I was to actually move to a 6.”

Those who say they are serious about leaving are quick to add that they recognize the privilege that allows them to consider such a move at all.

“I am acutely aware of how not everyone can do this,” says 40-year-old Janelle Hanchett, a writer, who sold everything she owned in Northern California in July and moved with her husband, Charles MacDonald, a union ironworker, and their four school-age children to the Netherlands. “We are not rich, we have crippling student loans, but we had equity in a house and the means to pick up and leave.”

Tired of what Hanchett describes as “the specter of this rising authoritarian regime, and of feeling unsafe all the time,” they applied for a “freelance visa” that the government of the Netherlands created to thank America for liberation during World War II, and that allows Americans to live and work as freelancers. (If they become employed by a Dutch company full time, their status switches to a sponsored visa.)

“It feels saner, more humane,” she says of her new home in the city of Haarlem, the capital of the province of North Holland. “The people seem happier. And there aren’t guns.

Under the program, they are entitled to all the country’s benefits, including universal health care, a payment from the government of about 250 euros per child per quarter, and admission to a “Newcomer” school that costs 3 euros per month and helps children learn Dutch and transition to their new country. When they learned about the school, Hanchett says, “we started to cry from happiness.” The principal told them, “Americans always react this way.”

Read the whole story here.

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From our friends up north, eh: Parents say children can handle the “kink” at pride events

WARNING: The pictures that follow in this post are NSFW.

Remember their goal: Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

From HuffPo Canada: Each year, in the blazing sun of the Pride parade in Nelson, B.C., Pega Ren and her two young grandkids seek shade under their spinning rainbow parasols.

Ren, a semi-retired sex therapist, told HuffPost Canada the parasols were a magical find, and have come to symbolize the importance of this event for her family. Ren spoke joyfully of going to the dollar store, picking up all the rainbow ribbons and flags, decorating the roller skates and the stroller, and getting the costumes ready. “I can’t imagine a safer place for families to bring children,” she said of Pride.

A resounding chorus of voices — from within the queer community and not — would agree with this general sentiment about Pride parades and kids.

But in late May, one tweet turned it into a bigger conversation.
The post asked parade participants not to “sexualize” Pride and to leave their fetish and kink at home, for the sake of minors.

Anyone who has been to a parade has likely seen the procession of leather animal costumes, kinky costumes in every hue, and more skin than is normally exposed in public.

Although the post and account have since been deleted, the tweet got many people talking: How child-appropriate are Pride festivities? And why does this discussion hit a nerve for the LGBTQ+ community?

“At some level this has always been part of a much larger debate of what Pride is,” David Rayside, a retired politics and sexual diversity professor at the University of Toronto, told HuffPost Canada. “Pride has always had a kind of outrageous edge to it. And should we alter that? It is not the Santa Claus parade, and it never was. It shouldn’t be. It can’t be.”

That said, Rayside added, not only is it important for parents to bring their kids, but “I’ve seen thousands of kids at Pride, and I’ve never seen anyone fuss about what they see there.”

In fact, many parents would fuss at the thought of not bringing kids to these events.

“There is absolutely no reason not to take our kids to Pride — it’s a fun day, there are a lot of bubbles, rainbow streamers and enjoyable performances,” writer, educator, and publisher S. Bear Bergman told HuffPost Canada.

Plus, as queer parents, it’s one of their cultural festivals, added Bergman, who who attends Toronto Pride every year with his kids. “It’s their right as queer spawn. And as a parent, I might want to take my kids to Pride, because they might be lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer or two-spirit.”

Pride events are dynamic — with so many notes being played at once, a degree of dissonance can also be expected. No one knows this better than Parker Chapple, Executive Director of Calgary Pride.

As Canada’s fourth-largest and fastest growing Pride celebration, Calgary Pride works hard to be family-friendly, including events like Reading with Royalty and puppet-making.

When asked how they go about balancing the needs of various segments of the community, Chapple (who uses they/ them pronouns) laughed. “It’s hands-down one of the most challenging roles that any Pride director has,” they said.

The tensions around who and what “belongs” at Pride are heightened this year, as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots stands in contrast to the consumer culture that has become synonymous with the season. After the June 1969 raid of New York gay bar the Stonewall Inn, a series of uprisings began, and sparked the gay liberation movement. The first Pride march took place one year after those raids.

“As an activist, I’ve always been acutely aware of what the parade and the festival is rooted in,” Chapple said.

And I’ve always passed that opportunity on to my children as a learning opportunity, so they can appreciate the work, the heartache, the celebration that our community put into gaining protection.”

Politics have a prominent place in Pride, Rayside said, but “it is also about outrage,” a time when some in the community express this “in ways that confront normal sensibilities.”

The freedom to do so is embedded within LGBTQ+ culture and history. These expressions are the most colourful during the parade.

Bergman defended these elements and their right to exist at a kid-friendly event. “First of all, nobody likes nakedness more than children,” Bergman said.

“On the list of things that I don’t want my children ever to be exposed to are: Compulsory heterosexuality, demonstrations of sexism, demonstrations of racism, demonstrations of ablism, violence. These are all way higher on the list than some homosexual’s tuchus.”

Putting on her sex therapist hat, Ren emphasized that Pride, from kink to nakedness, is an excellent opportunity for parents to do unbiased sex education. Bergman also pointed out that many children don’t even interpret most of what they’re seeing in a Pride parade as sexual, but rather as dress-up or fun. “Children benefit from seeing people loving one another, from seeing diversity and inclusion. Children suffer from seeing violence and fear, hatred and divisiveness,” Ren said.

“We found and built our tribe at these gatherings.”

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Canadian researcher claims dodgeball is “legalized bullying”

From Fox News: The game of dodgeball is more than just a popular playground activity, it is a tool of bullying and oppression targeting students, a trio of Canadian researchers claim.

The researchers argue that there is a “hidden curriculum” of dodgeball that reinforces the oppression of those “perceived as weaker individuals through the exercise of violence and dominance.” They claim dodgeball – which pits two teams to eliminate each other by hitting the opposition with rubber balls – doesn’t actually help students.

“If you practice ganging up on people, over time you’ll esteem ganging up on people,” David Burns, a co-presenter of the study and a professor at the Kwantlen Polytechnic, told CTV News Vancouver. “If that’s what you want, then dodgeball is an excellent tool to that end.”

Professor David Burns

Burns – alongside fellow researchers David Burns, professor at the University of British Colombia, and Claire Robson, professor at Simon Fraser University – argues that dodgeball instead teaches students to dehumanize one another and create unsafe conditions in schools.

“Dodgeball is the only game where the human is the target,” Butler said. “No other games focus on it.” He added: “It’s tantamount to legalized bullying.”

The researchers acknowledged their report will be criticized by many who argue the game is fun, but they are adamant that things could be done differently.

“We’re not anti-competition or anti-challenge,” Robson said. “These things need to be done in an educational context.”

Their study was presented at an education conference organized by the Canadian Society for the Study of Education in Vancouver on Monday.

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Peak TDS: Hollyweird actress considered giving her baby to Canada after President Trump’s election

Hey Amber…”powerful” women can cope with reality!

From Fox News: Amber Tamblyn shared her grim-sounding story from the 2016 presidential election as well as the impact the aftermath had on her as an expectant mother. The star revealed that she had brief thoughts of having to give her child away to Canada or Sweden in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

The 35-year-old actress, who got her start on the soap opera “General Hospital,” spoke at Vulture Fest’s “Feminist AF” reading series where she shared an essay about her experience at the Javits Center with fellow celebrities Amy Schumer and America Ferrera at what would have been Hillary Clinton’s victory announcement.

“I swigged some more Zantac, and my baby shoved her foot into my ribs, as if to foreshadow the paint that was yet to come,” Tamblyn said (via The Hollywood Reporter).

She went on to describe in her essay the moment that Clinton’s director of strategic communications informed attendees that she would not be speaking that night.

“A dark realization swallowed me: I was going to bring a baby into this world. And not just any baby: a girl,” she said, revealing that’s when she had the thought about having to give her daughter away to Canadians or Swedes to save her from whatever perceived horrors she saw upcoming in Donald Trump’s presidency.

Later in the essay, she described collapsing on the subway station stairs the following day after experiencing shortness of breath. It turned out that she was just having a panic attack. Fortunately, the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” actress gave birth to her daughter Marlow with her husband, “Arrested Development” actor David Cross. They shared images of the newborn in March of 2017.

“Somehow my wife gave birth to a 55-year-old furrier from Crown Heights. I’m investigating,” Cross wrote on Instagram at the time.

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Hypocrite: Rocker Neil Young blasts “climate-change denier” President Trump

Neil Young arriving at the airport via SUV

 

Neil Young’s very large Redwood home

Like most famous globe-trotting celebrities, Canadian rocker Neil Young blasts others for contributing to man-made global warming while spewing more carbon emissions in a year than you and I ever will in our lifetimes.

Young lost his Malibu home in the Woosley fire and, of course, blamed President Trump. From MSN:

Music icon Neil Young lost his home in the Woolsey fire Sunday and came down hard on President Trump for denying the devastating effects of climate change.

“California is vulnerable — not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think,” Young posted on his website. “As a matter of fact this is not a forest fire that rages on as I write this. We are vulnerable because of Climate Change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.

Young goes on to call Trump a “Denier,” saying he hopes the new Congress can bring a “reckoning” to this “this unfit leader” who he said doesn’t understand the seriousness of climate change.

“California is a paradise for us all. A gift,” Young wrote, adding that humans are defenseless against “Mother Nature’s wrath.”

“Fire fighters have never seen anything like this in their lives,” Young wrote. “I have heard that said countless times in the past two days, and I have lost my home before to a California fire, now another.

“Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn’t be part of his decision-making on our behalf,” he continued. “Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient opinion then he does for the people he leaves. Imagine an unfit leader. Now imagine a fit one.”

Young shared the Malibu home with his wife of three months, actress/director Daryl Hannah. He also owns a ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San Francisco.

The Malibu homes of director Scott Derrickson and Robin Thicke were also destroyed in the blaze.

The 83,275-acre fire near the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, which has destroyed 177 structures and prompted the evacuation of 265,000 residents. According to officials, the fires were only 10 percent contained as of Sunday night.”

Read the whole story here.

While his Malibu home was destroyed, I’m sure Young will survive in one of his other homes. From what I was able to find he has a home in Redwood, California. No doubt he has a home in his home country of Canada.

He also flies (private jets) around the world to perform concerts. According to a report by Calgary Herald in 2014, Young talks a good talk about climate change while contributing to the problem. From their report:

“While Neil Young spoke to a Calgary news conference at the Jack Singer Concert Hall prior to his Sunday night show, five rock star-style motorhomes were left running outside, spewing fumes into the Calgary air, even though they were mostly unoccupied.

Inside the concert hall, the 68-year-old rock ‘n’ roll legend was talking about the “elephant in the room,” which he later explained was man-made global warming. The only elephant I could see was his enormous carbon footprint and his even bigger hypocrisy between his walk and his talk.”

Typical Hollyweird HYPOCRITE.

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Canadian NHL player sued by woman who aborted three of his babies, supposedly for ca$h

The player Evander Kane/Instagram photo

Apparently not all #BlackLivesMatter.

If this story is true, both of these people make me sick to my stomach.

From TMZ: NHL superstar Evander Kane is being sued by a woman who claims he promised to pay her $3 MILLION to abort their child … so she did … but he never ponied up the dough. 

It’s all in a lawsuit filed by a woman using the alias “Jane Doe” to protect her identity. In the suit, the woman claims she started dating Kane in 2015.

Doe claims Kane got her pregnant in 2016 — but they both agreed to get an abortion

They continued to have a sexual relationship and he knocked her up again in 2017. Doe claims Kane pressured her to abort again because a baby would damage his hockey career … and also ruin the relationship he had with his official “girlfriend.”

The woman ultimately agreed to a 2nd abortion

Then in May 2018, Doe claims Kane got her pregnant for a 3rd time — even though she had used Plan B as a last-ditch attempt at birth control.

But, this time, Doe claims she did not want to abort — which caused problems with Kane.

In her suit, Doe claims Kane told her proceeding with the pregnancy would be a “huge mistake” so he started “bullying” her into seeking a 3rd abortion.

When she refused, Doe claims Kane offered her $1 million to change her mind. She told him no. So, Kane came back with a $3 million offer … and it was an offer Doe admits she couldn’t refuse.

Doe claims she had the abortion in June 2018 — but Kane never made good on the $3 million payment. 

When she followed up with him, Doe claims Kane strung her along … until finally telling her he wasn’t going to make the payment.  She claims Kane tried to turn the tables and accused her of extortion — and ultimately instructed her to solely deal with his attorney. 

The woman is suing for more than $6 MILLION for the $3 million payment — AND other damages including intentional infliction of emotional distress.

We’ve reached out to Kane’s attorney for comment — so far, no word back.

27-year-old Kane is one of the best hockey players in the NHL — and recently signed a 7-year, $49 million contract extension.

Kane was the 4th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft and went on to score 190 goals in his career ever since.

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Another empty promise? Barbra Streisand “thinking” about moving to Canada if GOP wins the House

Bye-bye Babs?

Well, that’s an incentive to vote GOP!

And how come these Hollyweird-types never threaten to move south of the border?

From Fox News: Barbra Streisand is once again thinking about leaving the United States for political reasons.

In a Tuesday interview with the New York Times, the 76-year-old star admitted that she’s considering moving to Canada if the Democrats don’t win the House in the midterms next week.

“I want to sleep nights, if we take the House I’ll be able to sleep a little bit better,” Streisand told the outlet, adding that if they don’t take control she’s been “thinking about” a potential move.

“I’ve been thinking about, do I want to move to Canada? I don’t know. I’m just so saddened by this thing happening to our country.

“It’s making me fat,” she continued. “I hear what he said now, and I have to go eat pancakes now, and pancakes are very fattening. We make them with healthy flour, though — almond flour, coconut flour.”

This isn’t the first time Streisand has said she’s considering leaving the United States. Before the 2016 election, the singer-actress echoed the same sentiment.

“He has no facts. I don’t know, I can’t believe it. I’m either coming to your country [Australia], if you’ll let me in, or Canada,” she said according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Last month, Streisand released her first album — “Walls” — since 2005, which contains a track that directly speaks to President Donald Trump and voices her distaste for what his administration is doing to America and the world at large. “I just went ballistic,” she told The Associated Press at the time.

The track titled “Don’t Lie to Me” contains lyrics aimed at Trump such as: “How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?/All that we built has come undone/How do you sleep when the world is burning?/Everyone answers to someone.”

I just can’t stand what’s going on,” the Oscar, Grammy and Emmy winner continued.  “His assault on our democracy, our institutions, our founders — I think we’re in a fight. … We’re in a war for the soul of America.

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Biological male wins women’s cycling championship

McKinnon (c) takes another win earlier this year/Instagram photo

 

McKinnon on the podium (c) for the world championship win.

This transgender woman won the women’s world cycling championship. No biological advantage there…

Of course if you have a different opinion than the good doctor you are nothing but a bigot.

From News.com.au: CYCLING’S first transgender world champion has fired back at heated criticism surrounding her breakthrough victory at the 2018 UCI Masters track championships.

Canadian philosophy professor at South Carolina’s College of Charleston Dr. Rachel McKinnon endured a torrent of online trolling after taking to social media to celebrate her world championship win in the women’s 35-44 sprint final at the Velo Sports Center in Los Angeles earlier this week (this story was dated Oct. 16.).

An image of McKinnon standing tall above her competitors during the medal presentation ceremony has spread globally in the wake of her controversial victory — just as she predicted.

McKinnon, born a biological male, won gold in the sprint final against friend Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen from the Netherlands.

An elated McKinnon claimed, to her knowledge, she is the first openly transgender athlete to win a world championship in any sport, after nudging past Van Herrikhuyzen on the final straight in a time of 12.903 seconds.

American Jennifer Wagner, who finished third, led the criticism against McKinnon’s participation in the championships.

Wagner responded to English media commentator Katie Hopkins’ online swipe at McKinnon by declaring it was not fair that McKinnon was able to compete at all. Hopkins also declared it was “febrile madness” for the UCI to sanction McKinnon’s participation.

McKinnon hit out at the criticism immediately following her victory both on social media and in interviews. She told velonews.com she enjoyed no physical advantage over her competitors despite being born a male.

“I think there is absolutely no evidence that I have an unfair advantage,” McKinnon said. “People who oppose transgender inclusion in sport put us in the double bind. It’s the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario.

“If I win, they attribute it to me being trans and having an unfair advantage. If I lose, the same people think I must not be good anyway. People will never attribute my winning to hard work which is what I think I deserve.”

She said there is no research to suggest that testosterone and body development would in anyway enhance the physical performance of transgender athletes.

She recently told USA Today that policing the testosterone levels of transgender athletes violates their human rights — declaring that should override all debates surrounding potential unfair playing fields for transgender athletes.

“We cannot have a woman legally recognised as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports,” McKinnon said recently.

Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue (#sportisahumanright). We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.

Read the whole story here.

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Just what we need: Bill and Hillary Clinton launch US speaking tour

Hope they have plenty of cough drops handy.

From Yahoo: Bill and Hillary Clinton are taking their show on the road.

The famous political couple, who individually charge well into six figures for an address, is launching a 13-city joint public speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada titled “An Evening with the Clintons” that kicks off Nov. 18 in Las Vegas.

Tickets to see the former president and former secretary of state live on stage aren’t cheap. At the 5,200-seat Park Theater in Las Vegas, the same venue where Lady Gaga will soon have a residency, seats cost between $72.48 and $228.44. And at the Opera House in Boston, tickets go for between $120.50 and $745.50, and that doesn’t include fees to promoter Live Nation.

So what can audience members expect from the show?

“Experience a one-of-a-kind conversation with two individuals who have helped shape our world and had a front seat to some of the most important moments in modern history,” the public relations copy for the tour reads. “From the American presidency to the halls of the Senate and State Department to one of the United States’ most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections, they provide a unique perspective on the past, and remarkable insight into where we go from here.”

The tour will wrap up at the 17,505-seat Forum in Inglewood, Calif., an arena that usually hosts music stars. In the coming days, Drake, Phil Collins and the band twenty one pilots will take the stage there. Also on the schedule, however, is former First Lady Michelle Obama, who will appear in mid-November.

The Clintons aren’t novices on the paid lecture circuit. From 2001 to 2015, they raked in more than $153 million in speaking fees for 729 events. As yet, there is no word on how much the former first couple might make for the Live Nation tour.

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Alleged MS-13 gang member asks Canadian court to reverse deportation because he’s afraid tattoos will get him killed

From Fox News: A Toronto man scheduled to be kicked out of Canada for being a member of MS-13 has asked officials not to deport him because his skull, knuckle and body tattoos could cost him his life in his native El Salvador.

René Pacheco was granted a temporary reprieve after successfully arguing that his tattoos would make him the target of rival gangs and law enforcement officials in the small Central American country.

Pacheco is a permanent resident in Canada and has not lived in El Salvador for 20 years but is not a Canadian citizen.

The 25-year-old, who goes by the nickname “Machete,” was arrested in 2016 on a number of criminal charges. While in custody and awaiting trial, Canada Border Services Agency officers interviewed him.

It was during that meeting, the National Post first reported, that Pacheco allegedly bragged to agents about his ties to the notorious gang. MS-13, short for La Mara Salvatrucha, is primarily composed of immigrants and descendants from El Salvador and is widely known for their extreme brutality.

Pacheco allegedly showed officers a tattoo of the number 13 on the back of his hand, a teardrop inking on his face as well as a number of other permanent markings on his body. He told agents he was initiated into the gang by surviving a 13-second beating. His Facebook page even featured gang graffiti and signs.

Pacheco’s story was believable enough for officers to order his deportation for being a member of a criminal organization. But he then changed his story and denied all ties to the gang.

“I made a bad decision getting these tattoos not knowing it was going to relate to this,” Pacheco said at an immigration hearing in 2017.

He claimed the number 13 tattooed on him was merely his “lucky number” and said the teardrop on his face was a tribute to his father who was murdered in El Salvador. Pacheco also claimed he learned about MS-13 by watching YouTube videos and said he was on drugs when he spoke to CBSA agents from his jail cell.

“I am not a member,” he said. “I made a mistake… Innocent people are dying back in my country and here I am getting these tattoos thinking it’s a joke not realizing the consequences that it brings.”

A federal court judge didn’t buy his reversal and upheld his deportation sentence.

Running out of time, Pacheo applied for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, a last-ditch effort to remain in the country.

“I understand that if someone arrives in El Salvador with tattoos and they think they are in a gang they can kill them, torture them or immediately throw them in prison,” he said in his appeal. “I can be the target of gangs there for trying to impersonate them. Therefore my life is in danger and I have no hope of being protected.”

His petition was denied.

He appealed the decision to a federal court and was granted a temporary stay. Judge E. Susan Elliott noted that Pacheo’s tattoos were a catalyst for a perceived risk and ordered a new assessment by a different officer.

In coming to her decision, Elliott noted a U.S. Department of State report that highlighted the “arbitrary deprivation of life” gang members face by authorities.

“This was particularly important as he would be returned to El Salvador for being a member of the MS-13 gang, despite his post-interview denials of such membership,” she wrote in her decision.

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