We Wish for Mewish

A DCU student and her family living in direct provision received deportation orders last week. 

Mehwish Saqib (29), her husband (34) and three children - aged three, six and eight -all received deportation orders on October 30 after their leave-to-remain application was rejected. 

Ms. Saqib is a DCU early-years education student under the University of Sanctuary Scheme that allows refugees and asylum seekers to complete third-level education. 

She has lived in Ireland for four and a half years, and her youngest child was born in Ireland. 

She told the Independent, “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.” 

According to the deportation order her family must leave by November 25 or present themselves to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services offices to arrange their removal by November 27. 

The family was given a voluntary deportation order on September 27, which gave them five days to leave the country.  

The original deportation order sparked a campaign by DCU Students’ Union and the National Union of Students, and after a Change.org petition “We wish for Mehwish” nearly reached 8,000 signatures. 

In a tweet she thanked DCUSU for their campaign and thanked her classmates for supporting her during this difficult time. 

However, she told the Independent that she and her family fear they will be killed if they go back to Pakistan. 

Her husband, Muhammed Saqib went on to say they feel guilty that they cannot give their children a better life. 

“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,” Mr. Saqib said. 

Alongside the rejection of their leave-to-remain application, Mr. Saqib’s right-to-work application was refused, so he cannot work. 

Speaking to the Independent he said it is his wife’s responsibility to give back to society once she graduates. 

“All of the money will be wasted by the university if she is just deported.” 

DCU SU tweeted on November 1, “We have received the troubling news that DCU University of Sanctuary student Mehwish Saqib and her family have received a deportation order for the 25th of November. Sanctuary means sanctuary. This is not good enough. Urgent action and support is needed.” 

They stated that they have written to Minister Charlie Flanagan asking for the order to be revoked, and have asked all students and staff to contact their TD and to Flanagan to request the same. 

On November 12, DCUSU is organising a gathering outside the Department of Justice and Equality to stand in solidarity and to demonstrate frustration of the deportation order and of the mistreatment of those living in Direct Provision.  

The Department of Justice declined to comment and said they do not comment on individual cases.