Media Release: Recently reunited family calls on government to stop father’s deportation

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

Media Contact: Swathi Sekhar, 416-885-8534

Recently reunited family calls on government to stop father’s deportation

Toronto, September 11, 2017 — With back-to-school season in full swing, a recently reunited Oakville family is calling on the Federal government to stay their father’s deportation order. Olukunle Adetunji, a Nigerian man detained for almost a year in maximum security immigration prisons without charge, is facing removal from Canada and permanent separation from his three children after Canada Border Services Agency rushed through a deportation order despite Adetunji having a pending application for permanent residence in Canada.

“The federal government thinks it can silence us with these bullying tactics,” said Olukunle’s wife Kimora outside of the Federal Court Monday, where an appeal for the deportation to be stayed is set to be heard.

“They took my children’s father away once. My kids had no idea where their father was for 10 months.  Now, after we’ve finally been reunited, the government is trying to intimidate us and split us up again.”

Just recently in July 2017, Olukunle was finally reunited with his children, after spending most of 2017 detained in immigration facilities across Ontario. His wife Kimora and their three children are all Canadian citizens; and now they again face the cruel prospect of being permanently separated from their father and husband.

“Just a few  weeks ago, I was overjoyed at the chance to reunite with my family and get on with my life. Now I’m being asked to leave my family, all of whom are Canadian citizens and call this place home,” said Adetunji, who was released on bail in July.

I came to Canada because I needed to be with my family, to be with my wife and my children. Now, all I ask is to stay.”

This rush deportation order comes on the heels of several rulings from judges that has put the “Kafkaesque” federal regime of indefinite immigration detention under increased public scrutiny. Most recently, a Superior Court justice released Ricardo Scotland, an immigration detainee with no criminal record who had been held in a maximum security prison for 10 months.

The federal government also faced a historic Charter challenge to its practice of long-term imprisonment of detainees in May, in Brown vs. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), where Kimora addressed an impassioned crowd at the court to advocate for the rights of detainees.  The End Immigration Detention Network, a watchdog opposed to immigration detention, and a party in the Charter challenge, is pushing for the end of indefinite detention, and the introduction of a 90-day limit for immigration detainees.

“CBSA has taken this family for a ride and now want to split them up for good,” said Dilani Mohan, who is representing the family at Federal Court.

“Their permanent residence application is in process and as Olukunle’s children start school for a new year, it is imperative that the family be allowed to stay together in Canada.”

In August, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) called on Canada to establish “a legal time limit on the detention of migrants”, immediately abolish the practice of the detention of minors, and ensure that immigration detention is only undertaken as a last resort.

BACKGROUND

Counsel for Adetunji was informed by CBSA in May that no removal would be executed until the application for humanitarian and compassionate leave was decided. Adetunji was released on bail on July 19th, 2017 as pressure mounted after a number of other immigration detainees had successfully argued their detention was unlawful under ‘habeas corpus.’

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