The deportation order against award winning photographer and queer community advocate Alvaro Orozco has been revoked after he won his application for immigration status based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
No One is Illegal said Orozco's application for status was approved late Tuesday afternoon and he will be released from detention on Wednesday.
"Community power, grassroots organizing from St.John's to Victoria, and Alvaro's inspiring resilience in the face of immigration-detention created this people's victory," said No One is Illegal.
"Even though most mainstream media outlets refused to cover Alvaro's story, we were able to organize immense public pressure in the last two weeks."
Orozco's deportation was initially set for June 2 but late Monday evening was delayed to June 9.
Friends and supporters rallied outside the 519 Community Centre in Toronto on Tuesday morning to pressure the government to stay the deportation order and grant Orozco residency status.
Staff from Lesbian Gay Bi Trans (LGBT) Youth Line were on hand to present an award to Orozco in absentia. He is set to receive an award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts & Culture at the 13th Annual Community Youth Awards on June 10, the day after his scheduled deportation date.
Orozco was selected to receive the award on May 2.
"We want him here after May 10 to continue doing great work," said Brandon Sawh, Fundraising Coordinator at LGBT Youth Line. "It's unfortunate that we have to do this today with him not here."
Alvaro has been in immigration detention since May 13 after being arrested by Toronto Police outside Ossington station.
Since his arrest nearly 9,000 people have signed a petition on his behalf and hundreds of people have rallies in multiple rallies across the city.
Orozco has lived in Toronto since arriving in Canada five years ago. His photograhy has been exhibited at the Mayworks Festival, Migrant Expressions Photography Exhibition, Under the Bridge Art Exhibition, Toronto City Hall and the Pride Art Exhibition.
Mayworks board member Kim Crosby came to know Orozco as a fellow queer artist when he shared his work and his story as part of the Resiliance Exhibit which was designed to explore the numerous ways that queer and trans folks of colour overcome challenges of oppression, violence and stigmatization.
"There is no question whether he is courageous or brilliant," said Crosby. "He's shared with openness the violence he has faced and the violence that is facing him upon his return."
Orozco has also worked with Jumblies Theatre as a photographer and prop-designer in three large productions.
"The power is in the community," said long time friend Carolina Gama. "That is why we are here."
Thank you for reading this story...
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.
If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.
We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.