Toronto Sun Newspaper has just reported the case of two Nigerians who are faced with deportation challenged over ignorance.
These teenagers, two University of Regina students, from Nigeria have been hiding in a church for months to avoid
deportation for unwittingly working at Walmart without the proper permits.
Ihuoma Amadi, 21, and Victoria Ordu, 20, have attended the school for three
years on a scholarship. Last year, the pair worked at the store for two weeks,
but according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, international students
can't be employed off campus without a work permit.
"It was an honest mistake. They want a second chance. There are better
measures that could have been used rather than the ultimate punishment, which
is deportation," said Kay Adebogun, vice-president of the Canadian
Association of Immigration Consultants, who is representing them pro bono.
The students said they quit immediately when university staff told them the
rules. Later, Canadian Border Services Agency officers arrested them and they
were scheduled to be deported June 19.
It is unclear how the women ended up getting hired without the appropriate work
Walmart said it is investigating the matter and declined to go into detail.
"We have a process in place to ensure associates have appropriate
documentation to work in Canada," the statement said.
Desperate, the women said they sought sanctuary at an undisclosed church in Regina nearly three months ago in hopes immigration
officials will show "mercy" for them.
"At times, we stay for days without eating because we don't go
outside," Amadi said Thursday at the church where they sleep on the floor.
Amadi and Ordu have both written to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to ask
for a pardon, and they are trying to get temporary residence permits.
"We acknowledge everything happened out of ignorance. If we had known, why
would we take that risk when our education is much more important?" Ordu
The University of Regina is supportive of the women's plight and wants them to
return to classes to get their degrees in theatre and international studies.
Barbara Pollock, a spokeswoman at the university, said the school sent a letter
to the minister to ask him to reconsider the deportation on humanitarian
"We feel that the punishment is disproportionate to the wrongdoing,"
Remi Lariviere, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said in an
email Thursday that Kenney doesn't have the authority to reverse deportation
orders under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Lariviere declined to
answer further questions for privacy reasons.
For now, all the students can do is wait.