A family from Nigeria were scheduled to be deported from Canada on Friday after the Canadian Federal Government denied them refugee status.
The mother of the family, Rasheedat Bakare who is approximately five months pregnant collapsed and was rushed to the hospital.
The incident forced the Canadian government to issue a temporary delay on the family’s deportation order.
Mrs Bakare and her husband, Afeez, son Faaiq and daughter Faiqah reportedly fled Nigeria and arrived in Canada in 2017. The family’s youngest daughter Farhana was born in Canada in 2018.
The Bakare family case caught the attention of the African Community Organization of Windsor (ACOW).
The group on Friday staged a protest outside the government’s office in Windsor, a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada.
ACOW president, Claude Saizonou, said they had to protest the family’s deportation because they have been through such situation before.
“We never react. We never say anything,” he said. “And we just have [had] enough of it. We just want to stand up and say ‘If we don’t do it, nobody would do it for us.’ And this family has to stay today.”
Mrs Bakare said her the child they are expecting would also be a girl and returning to Nigeria exposes her daughters to genital mutilation (circumcision).
“We ran away because they wanted to circumcise my baby girl — the one I brought from Africa. When I got to Canada, I had another baby girl. Currently, I’m pregnant with another baby girl. Now [I’ll have] three baby girls — [and all of their lives are] going to be at risk.” CBC quoted Mrs Bakare to have said.
The father of the family, Azeez Bakare said he’s not sure when he and his family will be required to leave.
“I don’t want my life and my family to be in danger,” he said.
“My wife is in a state where she is restless, she cannot do anything.”
Brian Masse, Windsor West NDP MP, described the action of the Canadian government as “heavy-handed,” adding that it was even logistically difficult for the Bakare family to comply with the deportation order in the first place, simply because of how little time was given.
At the same time, Masse pointed out the third child of the Nigerian family, Farhana, who was born in Canada in 2018, is a naturalized citizen, complicating matters further.
An immigration consultant, Marwan Zarif who spoke to CBC noted that the family has a few options to appeal their deportation.
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Their first option is to file for a pre-removal risk assessment.
“The problem with this pre-removal risk assessment is that immigration has to send you a form to fill,” said Zarif. “You can’t just apply for it.”
In effect, the risk assessment allows the federal government to determine the overall risk of persecution by returning to a country.
Zarif said there are some drawbacks associated with the pre-removal risk assessment, namely that potential applicants need to wait at least one year before they can submit a form.
A second option is to apply to the refugee appeal division part of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
However, Zarif said the appeal division “hasn’t been very active.”
“The immigration board hasn’t been listening to a lot of cases,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is how it is.”
If a refugee appeal is denied, Zarif said the Federal Court of Canada is also a means of recourse.