A protest against the deportation of a student from Carlow College was held on the steps of the Department of Justice this afternoon.
Around 25 protesters gathered to call for Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, to temporarily lift the deportation order of Michael Crichton Usiku to allow him to complete his studies in Carlow College.
Usiku received the deportation order earlier this month, instructing him to leave the country by December 29. According to Usiku, the grounds for the order were failing to provide college registration letters in June, however, he could not get these letters until his registration was confirmed by Carlow College after the CAO offers were issued in August.
Usiku attended the demonstration, thanking the protesters, organisations, and college staff and students supporting the campaign against his deportation. He said: “I would like to remain in Ireland to complete my degree. After I finish my degree, I would like to return to my home country of Malawi, to my family and community there.”
Carlow College Students’ Union (CCSU) President Adam Kane said: “If we see fit to call ourselves a nation of a hundred thousand welcomes, how can we unconscionably deport a young man who has come to Ireland simply to improve the lives of his home’s inhabitants? How can we, as students and activists, let this travesty go unchecked?”
Representatives from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), United Against Racism, and Rohingya Action Ireland were also among the speakers at today’s protest.
USI President Lorna Fitzpatrick said: “We have seen mass movements of young people over the past number of years to make serious change. This is our next big social issue that we need to tackle to ensure that people are not being faced with these situations. Students should never be forced to receive deportation orders in the middle of their college year.”
In a statement, USI wrote: “Michael has been [a] resident here on a student visa since 2014, and has been entirely self-financed throughout his college education, never once turning to the government for support.”
“He has had the misfortune of attending several colleges that closed during his degree, and wishes to become a community worker, educated by a college that cares. By joining us, and standing with Michael, you’ll be helping Michael to ultimately help others.”
A protest was held in late October against the deportation of Mehwish Saquib, a student at Dublin City University (DCU). Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU) campaigned against Saquib’s deportation, including starting a petition that has gained over 8,500 signatures.