DCU’s Students’ Union (SU) urged the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan to stop the deportation of Mehwish Saqib, a third year Early Childhood Education student.
Saqib came to DCU through the University of Sanctuary scheme, which provides people in direct provision with academic scholarships.
A Change.org petition to stop her deportation was set up by DCUSU, which has already reached over 1,500 signatures. The SU also named the campaign “We wish for Mehwish”.
For the past four years, Saqib has been living in Ireland with her husband and three children. The petition states that: “Despite her challenging living circumstances in Direct Provision, she has overcome great odds to advance academically,
“She has contributed so much to this country and has aspirations of continuing to do so, passing her first two years in DCU with flying colours and dreaming of a career in Early Childhood Education.”
It also said that should Saqib be deported, she’ll be faced with death threats from the people who drove her out of Pakistan eight years ago.
Last year, another DCU University of Sanctuary student – Shepherd Machaya – faced deportation. In a Facebook group chat for Shepherd’s campaign, DCUSU Vice President (VP) for Welfare & Equality Aisling Fagan said Saqib wouldn’t be safe if deported.
She added: “We’ll be sending a letter to Charlie [Flanagan] once again, asking other SU’s and colleges to get behind us and of course trying to get as many DCU students here on the ground behind Mehwish as well.”
On October 3rd, DCUSU will have a photocall on the steps in front of the Cregan Library on Pats Campus at 1pm.
Union of Students Ireland (USI) President Lorna Fitzpatrick said DCUSU contacted the USI about Saqib’s deportation yesterday.
She said: “We will support DCU in their actions – from a national perspective then we have joined a coalition around ending direct provision as well and will continue to work on the broader issue of ending the direct provision system”.
VP for Academic Affairs Callaghan Commons said that DCUSU is working alongside the USI and the Students Against Direct Provision Coalition to eventually end Direct Provision. He added that: “we believe that all University of Sanctuary students should be allowed to finish their degrees, free from the threat of deportation and will continue to lobby the government on this.”
Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque & Áine O’Boyle
Image credit: DCUSU