Hamza Khan, a first year Computer Science student studying at University College Cork (UCC), has been issued with a deportation order demanding that he leave Ireland within a week.
Khan secured his place at UCC under the College’s University of Sanctuary programme, which offers scholarships to refugees and asylum seekers.
UCC is one of six Irish higher education institutions to offer scholarships to refugees and asylum seekers as part of the Universities of Sanctuary movement.
Khan’s fellow students have condemned the deportation order issued to him and his family, with UCC Students’ Union (UCCSU) releasing a statement saying that “students and staff fought and worked hard so students like Hamza could access higher education and improve their lives”.
UCCSU have also launched a petition calling on the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, to revoke the deportation order.
The petition, launched through the website Change.org, states: “Hamza is part of our community here in UCC and has done nothing but excel since his family arrived to Ireland in 2017.”
It goes on to say that Khan had earned his place at UCC having been “ranked among the top applicants” with a “strong Leaving Cert” performance and that the deportation order “undermines the hard work of students, staff and most importantly, our sanctuary scholars who have done, and continue to do, outstanding work to be part of our community here in UCC” .
Khan has been in Ireland since 2017 along with his parents, sister, and three younger brothers, who are students at Deerpark CBS. All face deportation from Ireland within a week.
Messages of solidarity for Khan and his family have come from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), students and staff at UCC, as well as Independent Senator Alice Mary Higgins who tweeted that he “should be able to stay & complete his studies”.
At the time of publishing the petition urging Minister Flanagan to rescind the deportation order had reached over 500 signatures.
The case of Hamza Khan resembles that of Mehwish Saquib, a student at Dublin City University (DCU) issued a deportation order in October of last year and that of Shepard Machaya, another DCU student also issued a deportation order in the year before last. Both cases were also widely criticised by student unions around the country.