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(en) Canada, Immigration Threatens to Deport Mom to Nigeria and Force 2 Year Old into Foster Care

From Mick <mickblack47@yahoo.com>
Date Fri, 13 Dec 2002 15:07:28 -0500 (EST)


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Immigration Threatens to Deport Mom to Nigeria and Force 2 Year Old into
Foster Care 
 
On December 10, Dorothy Igharo confronted Immigration Canada, backed by
members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and delegates from the
Montreal-based organizations the Comite des Sans Statues Algeriens, and No
One Is Illegal. 

A delegation of 25 people shouted down management at the Greater Toronto
Enforcement Centre (which oversees deportation and detentions) demanding
that Dorothy's deportation be stayed and linking her struggle to that of
tens of thousands of people trying to gain status in Canada. Eventually
police forced the delegation out of the office. The demonstrators left and
went directly to the Ontario Regional Head office for Immigration where a
meeting was finally brokered with Rejean Catlon, a director of public
relations for Immigration Canada who was eventually forced to agree to
seek a response from Immigration officials as to whether they will grant a
discretionary stay of removal in Dorothy's case. We have informed him that
we will be calling on the afternoon of December 11th to get our answer. 

call Denis Coderre, Minister of Immigration and urge him to stop Dorothy's
deportation and grant her status in Canada. Urge him to begin legalizing
non-status people across Canada and to re-impose the moratorium on
deportation to Algeria. phone: (613) 995-6108 or email
Coderre.D@parl.gc.ca 


________________________________________ 
Wednesday, December 11, 2002 
Not going quietly Nigerian facing the boot storms immigration office 

By BRODIE FENLON, TORONTO SUN 

A Nigerian refugee claimant took her battle against deportation to the
heart of the civil service yesterday. 

Dorothy Igharo, 32, backed by about 20 members of the Ontario Coalition
Against Poverty, stormed into two Toronto-area immigration offices and
demanded a halt to her deportation. 

"Give me an opportunity to contribute to this wonderful country," a teary
Igharo told Rejean Cantlon, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration
Canada. 

"Look at my daughter," she said, waving a copy of yesterday's Toronto Sun
story on her plight. "It is wrong to separate my child from me." 

FOSTER CARE 

Igharo fears she'll be deported "any day" despite an interim Ontario court
order that forbids her two-year-old daughter from being removed from the
province. 

If the deportation proceeds, she'll be forced to put the child in foster
care, she said. 

Igharo sought refugee status in 1995 on claims she was gang-raped, beaten,
and left for dead by a gang of militia in retribution for her uncle's
involvement in a failed coup in Lagos. 

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board ruled her claim wasn't credible,
despite a doctor's evidence that the scars on her body were caused by
severe trauma. 

She is still waiting for the results of her 1999 application for status on
humanitarian and compassionate grounds. 

'DISCRETIONARY' 

Cantlon told Igharo yesterday that her case is under review and that a
hold has been placed on her deportation pending a risk assessment to gauge
any danger she might face upon return to Nigeria. 

He said he couldn't make any guarantees about her deportation. 

But OCAP spokesman Sarah Vance said fewer than 5% cent of such risk
assessments result in a deportation order being overturned. 

"You have the power to give her a discretionary stay. Just do it," Vance
told Cantlon. 

Toronto and Peel Police officers were called to both immigration offices.
The protesters left peacefully but vowed to return on Igharo's behalf. 

_______________________________________________ 
Tuesday, December 10, 2002 
'I don't want to leave my daughter' Mom fears deportation to her native
Nigeria 

By BRODIE FENLON, TORONTO SUN 

A Nigerian refugee claimant fears she'll be deported from Canada despite a
court order stating her baby girl is to remain here. 

Dorothy Igharo, 32, said she'll be forced to put her 2-year-old daughter
Precious in foster care if the deportation order against her stands. 

"I don't want to leave my daughter," Igharo said. "This is my soul mate.
This is all I've got. 

"All I'm asking for is an opportunity to contribute to this society and to
give to my child what I didn't get growing up." 

Igharo sought refugee status in 1995 on claims she was gang-raped, beaten,
and left for dead by a gang of militia in retribution for her uncle's
involvement in a failed coup in Lagos. 

Despite evidence from a Canadian doctor that the scars on her body were
caused by severe trauma, Igharo's claim was rejected by Canada's
Immigration and Refugee Board. 

"They said my claim wasn't credible. They didn't believe me," said Igharo,
who worked as a health care aide at a local senior's home until her work
permit was cancelled in 2000. 

An IRB spokesmen refused comment yesterday when asked about the case. 

Igharo was arrested by immigration officials last year for failing to
respond to a notice of deportation, which she claims was sent to an old
address. 

PASSPORT WAS SEIZED 

Her daughter's passport was seized and Igharo was ordered to report weekly
until a deportation date was set. Igharo won an interim order from the
Ontario Court of Justice forbidding her child from being removed from the
province. 

The court heard that the baby could be subjected to female circumcision in
Nigeria, as Igharo was years earlier. 

Igharo, who has no other family in Canada, has also applied for status on
humanitarian and compassionate grounds. 

"I'm scared," she said. 

"I don't want them to come get me in the middle of the night." 

Immigration spokesman Rejean Cantlon would not discuss Igharo's case, but
said anyone ordered deported is given 15 days to apply for a "pre-removal
risk assessment" to gauge the danger they might face upon return to their
country. 

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has taken up Igharo's cause and will
fight any deportation order, spokesman Sarah Vance said. 

------------- 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2002

Immigration Canada Threatens to Ignore Court Order: Deport Mom to Nigeria
and force 2 year old into foster care. 

Dorothy Igharo, a failed Refugee claimant who fled Nigeria 7 years ago, is
being threatened with deportation, despite an order from the Family Court
giving her full custody of her two year old daughter, Precious,
andforbidding the child from being removed from Ontario as it would be
against her best interests. 

In 1995 Dorothy claimed Refugee status on the basis that she had been gang
raped and beaten in retribution for her uncles political activity in
Nigeria. Although the Immigration and Refugee Board accepted her Doctors
evidence that she had been subjected to severe physical trauma, her claim
was still rejected. 

Unable to return to Nigeria, Dorothy has made a life here and is trying to
gain status on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds. She has been
granted full custody of her 2 year old daughter (who has no other family
in Canada) and an interim order from the Family Court forbidding the child
from being removed from Ontario as this would be against her best
interests depriving her of any possible relationship or support from her
father and forcing her to face hardship including the imminent possibility
of being subjected to female circumcision in Nigeria. Dorothy is a victim
of female circumcision and is very strongly against the practice. 

Despite this, and knowing that Precious father cannot be found,
Deportation Officer J. Atkinson is threatening to deport Dorothy, forcing
her daughter into foster care. In fact, Immigration Canada has issued an
internal memo to all Deportation Officers telling them that they can
pursue deportation of any non-status parent whose child has a non-removal
order from Canada. This is another bitter reminder of the Liberal
governments crackdown on Immigrants and Refugees and its utter disregard
for their well-being. 

The Liberal government talks about re-unifying Immigrant families while
quietly tearing families apart. OCAP is putting the Minister of
Immigration on notice: We will do whatever it takes to support Dorothy?s
struggle to gain full status in Canada. As an anti-poverty organization we
cannot tolerate the exploitation and expulsion of undocumented workers
living in Canada and are united with groups internationally fighting under
the banner that No One is Illegal. 

For more information contact: Sarah Vance (OCAP): (416) 806-4983 Sheilagh
OConnell (Family Law Office): (416) 348-0001 

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
517 College Street, Suite 234 
Toronto, Ontario M5G 4A2
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca


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