Since June 19th, 2012, two young Nigerian exchange female students have opted to seek sanctuary in a church in Regina SK, Canada to avoid deportation. They legally obtained Social Insurance Numbers back in 2010 with the initial intent of working on the university campus. However, after a short time working for a retailer off-campus, they have been targeted by the Canadian Border Service Agency...
Since June 19th, 2012, two young Nigerian exchange female students have opted to seek sanctuary in a church in Regina SK, Canada to avoid deportation. They legally obtained Social Insurance Numbers back in 2010 with the initial intent of working on the university campus. However, after a short time working for a retailer off-campus, they have been targeted by the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) for deportation. It was a crime that neither of the girls had even fully understood that they had committed due to the complexities of the rules.
Victoria Sharon Ordu and Ihuoma Favour Amadi have been living in Regina on government funded scholarships from their home country of Nigeria. Victoria and Ihuoma are both 3rd year students, who were working towards 4-year programs at The University of Regina. They are hoping that Canadian Federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, will reconsider and grant them pardon.
Both of them quickly realized their mistakes. Ordu had quit after two weeks when she realized that her employment was in fact illegal from a discussion with another international student. Amadi discovered her mistake during her second week on the job when she was arrested, handcuffed and led away from her till by two CBSA agents during her shift. The students are remorseful and have cooperated fully with the CBSA’s investigation.
Kay Adebogun, the students’ legal council, says the usual punishment for this type of violation would be to temporarily suspend their student visas and make them re-apply. A fine, Adebogun agrees, would be a more suitable punishment. Listed directly on the CBSA’s website it states “The lack of a clear understanding of the various available options when dealing with vulnerable populations has resulted in inconsistency in detention practices across regions.” (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/agency-agence/reports-rapports/ae-ve/2010/dr-rd-eng.html) That's why Adebogun was surprised when he found out they were facing the much harsher penalty of deportation. Barb Pollock, U of R spokeswoman, says while the school respects the fact laws have to be upheld, it is trying to advocate for a reconsideration of the girls' case. We agree with Amadi’s statement "Now to think we lose three years of our lives because of a small mistake? If there was a fine, a warning, that would be more reasonable. I just wish they could look at this from a human point of view."
We are here to petition the severity of the chosen punishment for these specifics women's actions. We disagree that these two students should act as the government’s scapegoat and be one of the first persons deported, instead of fined, for illegal work. This punishment does not fit their crime
Within the University of Regina community, The City of Regina, Saskatchewan, and international relations between both Canada and Nigeria there has been mounting pressure to those who help determine the students' fate. Does two weeks of illegal work really necessitate full deportation for two young promising scholars- we think not! Especially considering this punishment is highly unusual. It is our hope that with your support we can help convince Minister Jason Kenney and Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, in our plea for a pardon for Ordu and Amadi.
Regina Immigration and Social Justice Group