A Nigerian family facing deportation has asked the Canadian government to save them from returning home, saying that their two young daughters — with another on the way — will be subjected to female genital mutilation.
Rasheedat Bakare, her husband Afeez, son Faaiq and daughter Faiqah arrived in Canada in 2017; and they had another daughter, Farhana, in Canada in 2018.
The family of five was denied refugee status on Thursday and were told to leave the country by 3 p.m. on Friday, CBC News, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has reported.
“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.”
After they were denied refugee status on Thursday, Rasheedat, who is five months pregnant, collapsed and was taken to hospital, the medium said.
On Friday afternoon, the government issued a temporary delay on the family’s deportation order.
Her husband, Afeez, said he was 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.”
Windsor West NDP MP, Brian Masse, says the Bakare family’s circumstances are made more complicated by the fact that the youngest daughter was born in Canada and is a naturalised citizen.
An immigration consultant who founded Canada by Choice in Windsor, Marwan Zarif, said the Bakare family has a few options to appeal their deportation.
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 Canadian 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.
If a refugee appeal is denied, Zarif said, the Federal Court of Canada is also a means of recourse.
“The good thing about it is it’s outside the immigration system, so it’s not influenced by immigration regulations,” he said. “It’s a different body to immigration.”