Nine months hiding in a church
Fearful woman takes sanctuary to fight deportation that also threatens her Canadian-born child, 11
Jul 07, 2007 04:30 AM
While 11-year-old Alice finds the box of tissues, her mother cries as she tells how she has come to live in the choir room of an Anglican church in Mississauga – and is crying still at what might happen if she leaves.
Felicia Abimbola knows it was a desperate measure, but when she was ordered after 17 years here to return to her native Nigeria, she faced a desperate choice: Ask her church for sanctuary, or depart for Africa and decide whether to leave her Canadian-born daughter behind.
That was in October.
She hasn't left the Trinity Anglican church since.
Abimbola doesn't want to return to Nigeria. She says she has no life there: Her husband died shortly after she arrived here and she has since been living with her brother-in-law who, according to Nigerian custom, has become her common-law husband. They share a child, Alice, but he can't work and isn't able to care for her.
After arriving in Canada on a two-week visitor's permit, Abimbola has made three applications to stay on humanitarian grounds. She's awaiting a decision on the third.
Few illegal immigrants use it, but there is a last resort for those desperate to stay: church sanctuary. No law protects them there, but it's a long-standing tradition that the state won't invade church space to take someone into custody.
And she's angry. She's no criminal, she says. She has a diploma as a personal support worker. She's not looking to be a burden.
Read it all here.
To the point, she is a criminal in the sense that she broke Canada's immigration laws and entered Canada under fraudulent pretenses. But our immigration laws are not real laws anyways so why all the fuss?
Her behaviour and regard for our immigration laws is typical of many illegal immigrants to our country and the scam she operated is typical and simple as well. The scam goes as follows. First, you enter Canada anyway you can. The visitors Visa or fake refugee claim are popular ones. Second, while here get yourself or your spouse pregnant if not pregnant already. Third, overstay your welcome. If you are a fake refugee, and you know who you are, burden Canadian taxpayers with endless appeals and lawyer fees. Fourth, give birth. These babies are known as “passport babies” or “anchor babies” because any children born on Canadian soil is automatically given Canadian citizenship. Illegal immigrants and failed refugee claimants will then use these babies as excuses to stay in Canada which is step five. However this doesn’t always go so smoothly. Step six is to get the Toronto Star to aid and abet your illegal behaviour with an emotionally driven “puff piece” that ignores the abuse of our system to favour the desperate situation an irresponsible woman has gotten herself into. Step six is, if deported; use your “anchor baby” to get you into the country at a future date.
This happens all the time in this country and we have to stop it. The best way is to rewrite our citizenship laws. Canadian citizenship should only be automatically granted to the children of Canadian citizens born on Canadian soil. I know there will be a few whiners who will be concerned about the citizenship status of the child but that’s not our problem. That responsibility rests with the individual. If need be Canada should take the lead and rewrite international law so that those children born to nationals on foreign soil will retain the citizenship of the parent(s) if the parent(s) do not have citizenship in the land on which the child was born. There, problem solved and money saved.
What I find hypocritical of stories like these is that the illegal immigrant breaks our immigration laws but expects our citizenship laws to be enforced when it comes to their children. You hate the law when it is against you but you love it when it is on your side.
Her behaviour costs Canadian taxpayers money. It is money that could be used for the betterment of Canadians but instead it is wasted to entertain the irresponsible behaviour of law breakers. No official figures exist but it is estimated that Canada spends around $2-4 billion dollars a year to service our immigration and refugee system including other services these immigrants will use when in the country. Imagine how much money we will save and can reinvest in the betterment of Canadian lives if we would just cut immigration numbers and clarify our laws to eliminate abuse of our immigration and refugee systems. But since urban politicians need ethnic block votes don’t expect any changes soon and expect such abuse to continue unabated.