It’s been a year since a Regina Walmart illegally hired two foreign students, and triggered a drama with them confined to churches granting them sanctuary from the Harper Government’s punitive mean streak.
For Immediate Release
June 18, 2013
One Year Anniversary: University Students Still in Hiding
This week marks one year since two University of Regina students went into hiding to avoid deportation. On June 18, 2012 Victoria Sharon Ordu and Favour Peace Amadi sought sanctuary in a local church appealing to federal Minister Jason Kenney to intervene in their case. Their honest mistake was to work at Walmart for two weeks in 2011 for which they were dealt the toughest penalty: deportation.
Over the past year, the University of Regina students have cultivated a broad base of support. The University of Regina has maintained their support for both women on compassionate grounds appealing to federal Ministers Toews and Kenney to intervene on the case. In a recent letter to Jason Kenney, University of Regina President Vianne Timmons wrote, “the punishment far exceeds the nature of the offense, meaning that these young women have lost an entire year of their academic careers—and more importantly, of their lives. A show of clemency from you will make a tremendous difference in their lives, and in the lives of their families in Nigeria who are so concerned about their welfare.”
In addition to support from the University community, social justice and labour organizations, Ordu and Amadi’s case has been taken up at the local and federal level by MP Ralph Goodale (Liberal), MP Jinny Sims (NDP), MLA and Saskatchewan Minister of Justice Gord Wyant (Sask Party), and MLA Warren McCall (NDP). Supporters of Ordu and Amadi have created a blog to document and archive the actions and support taken on their behalf (http://stopurdeportations.com). The page includes letters from the two young women and the organizational letters sent to Minister Kenney in recent weeks.
Dr. Michelle Stewart, one of the faculty working on the case points to an ongoing concern of many supporters: Walmart’s role in the case. “Our hearts go out to Victoria and Favour, this has been a challenging year. These are two young women hiding in local churches for working at Walmart for two weeks. Their lives have been forever changed. Has anything happened to Walmart?” Stewart added that Minister Kenney’s office proposed changes to the International Student Program that would allow students to work on and off campus with one permit. “In the spirit of these changes that will be implemented over the coming year, we are asking Minister Kenney to use his discretionary power and allow these two women to return to their studies.”
Dr. Sean Tucker adds: “It is grossly unfair that Victoria and Favour are being denied the opportunity to finish their degrees for working two weeks at Walmart.”
Dr. Sean Tucker
Faculty of Business Administration
University of Regina
Dr. Michelle Stewart
Department of Justice Studies
University of Regina