herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

'It's very tough' - DCU student and her young family to be deported

Mother-of-three Mehwish Saqib (29) is a third-year student at Dublin City University
Mother-of-three Mehwish Saqib (29) is a third-year student at Dublin City University

Deportation orders have been served on a Pakistani family with three young children whose mother is currently studying at DCU.

A students' union campaign was launched earlier this month against the possible deportation of Mehwish (29) and Muhammad Saqib (34) and their three children aged three, six and eight, who have been living in a direct provision centre.

Ms Saqib is a third-year early years education student at DCU under the college's University of Sanctuary scholarship.

This allows refugees and asylum seekers to complete third-level education.

Rejected

However, despite campaigns from the National Union of Students (USI) and DCU Students' Union, each member of the family has received deportation order letters after their leave to remain applications were rejected at the start of last month.

Normally, a rejected leave to remain application is followed by a deportation order.

According to the order, the family must leave the country by November 25 or present themselves to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS) offices for their removal to be arranged by Nov- ember 27.

Mr and Ms Saqib said they fear they will be killed if they are sent back to Pakistan.

They have been living in Ireland for the past four-and-a-half years and currently live in the direct provision centre in Mosney.

"It's a very tough situation for us now," Mr Saqib told the Herald.

"We just thought that with the students' union writing an open letter to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and the campaign and the support from the Irish people, that we would be able to stay.

"As a parent, I feel very guilty that we can't give our children a better life.

"When we were refused the leave to remain application, the letter said that our children's ages are adaptable and that they can adapt somewhere else.

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"But they've been in the school system here for years. They all go to the same school and have the same friends.

"You can't say that their life won't be changed if they have to move now.

"For four-and-a-half years we've been looking at the post coming in every morning.

"We want to contribute to society and a lot of our friends have been granted leave to remain statuses.

"Last week, a family moved out of the centre because they got their status and our children were friends with their children.

"My daughter was writing a letter saying that she misses her friends and how she wants to visit them in their new house."

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