UPDATE: UofT Student and his Family Deported! Fight for Don't Ask Don't Tell and Sanctuary Schools Continues
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008
Toronto- Below the stormy skies of U of T's St.George Campus, hundreds of students, campus workers and faculty rallied outside the Sidney Smith Building to demand a stop to the deportation of Saad Alam and his family.
"I never imagined that I would get this much support from so many people," expressed the 23 year old U of T student, to a crowd of cheering supporters.
Slated for deportation in less than a week, the Alam family and supporters kicked of an emergency campaign demanding the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration use her discretionary authority to grant them a Ministerial Permit to allow them to stay in Canada.
"The Alam's have been working here for 5 years. Shammi and Badrul Alam took two jobs each working day and night to put their son through school. Forced to pay international tuition, Saad, too took on jobs, working in restaurants for less than minimum wage," explained Fariah Chowdhury, spokesperson for No One Is Illegal-Toronto's Student Network. She maintained, "Parents like Saad's are the backbone of Canada's economy and should not be treated like second class residents".
"Saad is an extremely important member of Toronto's Bengali community, as well as the student community at U of T", beamed Mushfique Al-Huq, Vice-President of the Bangladeshi Students Association at U of T. "Understanding the poverty and hardships facing the poor majority in Bangladesh, Saad has organised events to raise awareness and fundraise for Bengali charities".
"On behalf of 300,000 college and university students who are members of the Canadian Federation of Students, I am here to demand that Alam family be allowed to stay in Canada" added spokesperson Hilda Otieno.
Outraged by the lack of response from U of T's President Naylor on this case, students piled onto the streets and marched to his Simcoe Hall Office. They demanded that the President come out in support of Saad and the Alams. Met with campus police waiting at the doorsteps of the office, students belted out chants, yelling "Let Saad Stay! and "We Want an Education, Stop the Deportations!"
Students called on Naylor to implement a Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy, ensuring access without fear to post-secondary education. "We are witnessing an unprecedented attack on students without status who are being targeted. This speaks to the urgency for our post-secondary institutions to become sanctuary zones where student's without status will not be revealed, and immigration enforcement will be prohibited on campuses".
The following day, President Naylor agreed to contact the Immigration Minister to request a stay until Saad would complete his undergraduate education but has not responded to the call for access to post-secondary education for all non-status students.
At 2pm on October 3, Saad Alam and his family left for Bangladesh. In his absence, the fight for non-status students will continue.
For Pictures and Video:
Saad Alam Media Coverage