(The Star) – A 29-year-old South Sudanese man told officials he wasn’t lying when he allegedly posed as a teenager to attend high school in Canada — he just didn’t know his real age.
Wearing a loose orange jumpsuit, Jonathan Elia Nicola, who has been held by immigration since April 15, attended a brief detention hearing in Windsor on Tuesday and was ordered to remain in custody because he was considered a flight risk.
He did not provide further testimony at the hearing, but at an earlier detention review, the 6-foot-9 Nicola, who was enrolled in Grade 11 and played basketball on his Windsor high school team, said he did not know how old he really was because his mother kept telling him different ages.
“I aways keep asking what is the specific age that I was born, and she has told me that she could not remember,” he told the April 19 hearing.
“Over (in South Sudan) . . . not every year we study . . . we always keep moving to different schools, and over there, they do not ask your age. They do not ask you nothing,” Nicola said.
All he wanted, he told officials, was to get a good education in Canada so he could support his family back home.
Last week, I posted the story about this man who passed in Canada as a 6’9 11th grade basketball player. This week, we have an update from his detention hearing.
A little part of me thought this could have happened, and I feel kind of bad about it now.
Poor guy, Jonathon Nicola had no idea what his real age was, and he just wanted to ball up and get a solid education to help his family back home. There was absolutely no intention of intentionally deceiving officials in my mind…
Except officials think otherwise saying,
“Nicola’s plea for release was denied by adjudicator Valerie Currie, who said she believed he deliberately deceived officials so he could come to Canada to study and to support his family.”
Well duh he wants to leave South Sudan, pretty sure everyone wants to leave that country at this point. Now this poor man just wants to get the hell out of the spotlight after he thought he was enjoying Canada legally. Going to have to side with him on this one.
He was caught because of this reason:
“It was not until December when Nicola applied for a U.S. visitor’s visa to play basketball with the school that Canada Border Services Agency was alerted by their American counterparts that his fingerprints matched a former failed refugee claimant with the same name but a different age…His student visa application and passport to Canada said he was born on Nov. 25, 1998, but the records with U.S. authorities showed his date of birth as Nov. 1, 1986.”
God damn Canada, figure your shit out. Without the US of A, this MAN would still be balling it up in Windsor.
To be honest, I don’t think he is at fault at all, I actually think it is the official’s in Canada’s fault. How the hell could he get through the processes of screening without being questioned about his damn age!? You have immigration people and the people at the school that should be asking this question and literally no one could get it right until 6 months later, after he is already an all-star in the high school league as a 29-year old.
I am team Nicola right now, but I’m not going to deny that this is a non-sense quote:
“I am not a liar person. I am religious. I pray to God”
Don’t dig this. People can be religious and lie Jonathan.
Also, what are the chances that I can travel to Canada and play high school basketball again? Think it is something I have to consider with the free time I’ll have this summer. Might have to enter a high school tournament with some friends up in Canada so we can school some kids. Would love to get back out on the courts.
What do you think about this recent development? Tweet me @ConnerGrant5, I’m interested to hear.