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International students protest indefinitely in Mississauga, Canada to demand the cancellation of deportation orders

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS5 | June 10, 2023 02:11 PM

Canada Government stayed June 13 deportation of Lovepreet Singh
MISSISSAUGA: On Sunday May 28, a dozen international students from India began a 24-hour protest in front of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) headquarters at 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga. They demand the cancellation of deportation orders issued against students victim to immigration consultants who falsified their college admission letters.

Concurrent with the ongoing permanent protest, the students plan to rally in front of Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino’s office at 511 Lawrence Ave W on Thursday June 8 at 11:00 am.

The Canadian government has been threatening hundreds of international students with deportation for entering Canada in 2017 and 2018 on the basis of fake college admission letters drafted by their immigration consultants, namely a Jalandhar-based consultant named Brijesh Mishra. After landing in Canada, the consultants told students that they could not enroll in that particular college for various reasons, such as deferral or unavailability of seats. The students were told to change colleges, which they did in order to begin their studies. Over the last five to six years, most of the students have completed their studies, entered the workforce, started families and have applied for permanent residency (PR). They were unaware of the fake offer letters until they began applying for PR.

Lovepreet Singh, a 30-year-old international student who arrived in 2017, is one of the students with a deportation order. After his agent told him not to show up to Lambton College upon arrival, Lovepreet contacted his college himself only to be told that they did not have any record of admission or tuition fee payment. After the dean of the Sarnia campus invited him to a meeting, Lovepreet found himself face-to-face with CBSA officials seeking his removal. However, Lovepreet managed to complete his studies at a Montreal college and has since built a life in Canada. In a race against time, he is now fighting a deportation order issued against him for June 13. The deportation of Lovepreet was however temporarily stayed till further investigation.

International students have been pushing the federal government to halt the deportations over the last year. In response, Minister of Immigration Sean Fraser stated that their government’s “focus is on identifying culprits, not penalizing victims.” The students say that the immigration consultants are at fault, and that they live in constant fear and uncertainty for as long as deportation orders are active — a punishment of its own. Notably, the federal government reviewed and cleared the students’ documents at least four times over the past five years, failing to identify the fraudulent offer letters.

The pressure created by 2 weeks of permanent protest led to results on June 8: the Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship unanimously called on the CBSA to “immediately stay pending deportations of affected international students, waive inadmissibility on the basis of misrepresentation and provide an alternate pathway to permanent status for those impacted.” However, this motion is not legally binding. It is only a recommendation to the CBSA, which can suspend deportations but does not have the mandate to waive inadmissibility (i.e. allow the students to apply for PR) or create pathways to PR. Only Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Justin Trudeau have the power to cancel these deportations and ensure that students live with dignity, not fear.

The students have been receiving widespread community support over the last six months of organizing through: rallying in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s office, protesting in front of Minister Marco Mendicino’s constituency office in Toronto, and holding a press conference attended by MPs and Ontario Gurdwara Committee leaders. After beginning the permanent protest on Airport Road, the students took their struggle directly to the front steps of the CBSA’s head office in Mississauga on Tuesday May 30, noting that the CBSA has the discretionary power to delay enforcement of the deportation orders for any period of time. The 24-hour protests have seen large community gatherings every evening, with appearances by notable public personalities such as singer Sharry Mann and poet Rupi Kaur and political officials such as mayor Patrick Brown.

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