Farai Chigogora fights deportation order over 2012 crime
Community groups in Hamilton and Toronto hoping public awareness stops man's deportation
Farai Chigogora, 21, who has lived in Hamilton as a permanent resident since he moved to Canada to be reunited with his mother at the age of 14, is set to be deported on Jan. 13.
The deportation order stems from his role in connection with a Boxing Day, 2012 home invasion in Cayuga, Ont., in which he later plead guilty to theft under $5,000 after his four co-accused also made plea agreements.
Chigogora was also arrested a year earlier after a series of muggings and a car chase that ended with the car he was in crashing onto a front lawn in Dundurn Street North, though this incident is unrelated to his deportation.
Now, Chigogora is working with a lawyer to get a stay of the proceedings. Meanwhile, activists in Toronto and Hamilton are trying to win public support with hopes that will help keep him in Canada.
Riaz Sayani-Mulji, a University of Toronto law student who met Chigogora at a Hamilton youth centre where they both worked, called his potential deportation "profoundly unjust."
Sayani-Mulji said because Chigogora has already served jail time for the crime it amounts to "double punishment."
While the Canadian government is within its rights to seek Chigogora’s deportation, "I think the bigger issue is whether this is morally just," Sayani-Mulji said.
Sayani-Mulji describes Chigogora as a "gentle, kind, considerate," man who is an active member of the community who volunteers with newcomer youth. Currently Chigogora is finishing his high school courses with the goal of becoming a social worker, Sayani-Mulji said.
Several organizations including the NGen Youth Centre and the Toronto chapter of No One is Illegal have also thrown their support behind Chigogora.
That campaign to halt Chigogora’s deportation will continue Friday with a news conference at which he’s set to speak. He declined to comment when contacted by CBC Hamilton on Thursday.
Canada only resumed deporting people to Zimbabwe last Dec. 2014 after more than a decade-long moratorium due to unsafe conditions in the country.
As its travel advisory for the African country warns: "crime, exacerbated by a very difficult economic situation, remains a serious problem for foreign visitors and residents alike."