I definitely don’t have a profound analysis here, but two attempts at deportation in the UK and Canada seemed worth pointing out – particularly as I spend the summer writing up a dissertation all about the detrimental impacts of politicizing immigration in partisan or anti-democratic ways.
In London in 2012 Australian-born Trenton Oldfield jumped in the water during the Oxford v. Cambridge boat races as a protest against the ongoing austerity cuts in the UK. After serving two months of a six month jail term, Trenton is now being threatened with deportation by a Home Office who has decided that “his continued presence in Britain would not be ‘conducive to the public good’.”
Meanwhile in southern Ontario, Canadian-born Deepan Budlakoti served three years in prison for various convictions around property, and now finds himself living under the threat of being deported to his parent’s country of birth India. Canadian government officials are attempting to make a somewhat overcomplicated argument that this young man is not in fact a Canadian citizen because of his parents’ employment with the Indian Embassy when they first moved to Canada. Needless to say the Indian government is not buying it, and has already let Ottawa know that Deepan is clearly not a citizen of Indian.
Like I said no profound analysis here, but it strikes me that these are also cases where citizenship is being defined in some fairly anti-democratic ways. In the first case there is the continued criminalization of protest, which should be one of the ways in which citizens and residents can engage and participate in their community. In the second case it’s an example of how marginalized care has become in our justice systems, what I mean here is if someone in the community makes a mistake do we want our justice response to be restorative, punitive or even vindictive? A culture of care would certainly lean towards restorative, while this attempted deportation certainly leans towards the vindictive.
Especially if you are a bona fide citizen of either of these countries maybe take a second to let your government know how you feel about these cases.