By Mohammed, Theodore and Richie
Preparing: What happens if we don’t win?
In 2018, CBSA reported that 6,083 people had been deported from Canada. It’s a startling number. Even with all the collective community resistance, deportations are continuing to happen. Although this special issue of The Peak is focused on resisting deportation, we felt it was important to include the stories from those who have lived through the traumatic experience of deportation and recount how they have adjusted to life since then. If you or someone you know is facing deportation, we encourage you to fight. Resist! Find community advocates, contact local or national organizations or start a campaign. Remember, there is strength in our numbers.
Mohammed. Somalia. One year and four months since deportation.
The first thing I did when I got my deportation notice was contact a lawyer to review and take my case. Since my criminal matter was dealt with through legal aid, and I was no longer a Canadian issue, (they stripped me of my convention refugee status and permanent residence) I was unable to retain legal aid and every other lawyer was charging fees. I went through racism, discrimination and humiliation every video court.They thought they could break my spirits but it only made me stronger.
I have seen a lot of people lose it and go crazy and check themselves in protected custody or suicide watch. You have to be mentally strong to withstand them courts. Being a kid from Canada, who never left Toronto since the age of seven, there was no way to prepare myself for a third world country. I couldn’t prepare because they never gave me any notice; I was forcefully dragged out of a jail cell in the morning and assaulted all the way to another jail cell. I was then put on a flight where I co-operated and was not handcuffed at all. This all happened in a week. My emotions were running wild because I knew deep down that this was all illegal, but I’m just a Black youth who is no longer a Canadian issue.
The thing is, I’ve lived in Toronto my whole life; I have no family in this country, my faith is what keeps me strong everyday. I would have never been prepared for this place. I didn’t want to be another deportee statistic and that’s when I realized that education is the key.
The moment I came here [Somalia] I started university by taking an international relations course. I am trying to make a positive outcome from my negative upbringing and show the world that you can change. I don’t want to be angry at the system and honestly I’m not, it shaped me to change my ways. I can never be sour and mad at Canada; it will always be my home, it’s all I know.
Theodore. Jamaica. Two years and six months since deportation.
The first thing I did when I got my deportation order was get in contact with my family and friends back home. I had to try to figure out what steps I could take to help my case. I contacted my mother back home and I started asking questions about what’s like there, what to expect when I get there and help to find a place to stay.
When I arrived, I started working, playing sports, going to school and trying to figure out how to better my life by having something positive to do. I have been able to integrate into daily life by working, school, farming and getting to know people here.
I would advise anyone who gets a deportation notice to first get in contact with their family and figure out what steps they can take to help there try to get in a program. Also try your best to cooperate with immigration.
Richie. Nigeria. Three years since deportation.
I was not in the right mindset when they sent me the notice. I was very scared because I had not been to my country of origin since I was eight years old. So I hid from the law, but I did it in the wrong way. I was not ready to leave when they picked me up, so I called my people to get me some items that I could be prepared when I landed in Nigeria. Weird thing is the people who brought me my travel stuff came from out of nowhere; I just met them while being deported.
To adjust, I had to just accept the fact – I was now on my own. I knew absolutely nobody, I couldn’t speak the language or even understand it. Everyone that saw me knew I was a foreign national; when I spoke they assumed I was a black American (white African). My adjustments were not easy. The change of climate, extreme heat, and even my dress code was not Nigerian. I have not told anyone my real reason for being here because it could get me hurt, alienated or even lead to my death. I’ve met a lot of people who are happy to see me; my popularity has gone viral.
Eventually, I integrated; I’ve learned small linguistics of my people (Igbo) and some Yoruba. Because of my wide range of skills and knowledge, I have been working for two years now. It is not a lot of money, but I’ve managed to get my own place to live. Money is extremely necessary in order to live here. If you have no money or people don’t know you, then you go hungry. If I wasn’t me and didn’t do what I do, I would be dead by now.
If you are on the move or just got your notice – I beg you to try in your best power to stay where you are and do whatever it takes to resist your deportation. Life is for real out in these third-world countries, especially if you have no one you know who can vouch for you. But, if it is your lot in this life, then I recommend you learn handy work and get in the work field.
God brought me home because my mother was dying and she begged for one thing – to see her first born once more before she left this earth. I’m trying for a pardon next year because I want to travel out if I see money, find a link to another country. Or else, I will just rest out my days here in my mother nation and fathers’ land.
I have two siblings whom I have been building a relationship with. Life, if treated right, will reward us but everyone has their problems; may God keep them all safe. I love you all, my people. Look me up on Facebook Chinedu Abuwa. Wadado wadado! Stay safe, live life and love yourself ‘cause some people don’t care who you are, where you’re coming from. They will only care about what you can give them.
Best wishes and good luck, I’m out!