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Friday, April 22, 2016

29-year-old African man allegedly entered Canada illegally and spent months posing as a Windsor Ontario high school student

Man, 29, posing as teen arrested after trying to enter the U.S.

High school basketball teammates describe him as ‘a good guy’

It's one thing to talk about a man 
allegedly entering Canada 
illegally but the real story here 
is the fact how does a 29 year 
old possibly become enrolled in 
a public highschool in Ontario?
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Fingerprints at the U.S. border were the 
downfall of a 29-year-old African man who allegedly entered 
Canada illegally and spent months posing as a Windsor high 
school student.
Jonathan Nicola, previously believed to be 17, was flagged when 
he tried to go to Michigan April 15 because he'd done it once 
before. But the first time he tried, according to the Canada Border 
Services Agency, he told authorities he was born in 1986.
Authorities are keeping Nicola, who turns 30 on Nov. 1, in jail 
until his next hearing with the Immigration Refugee Board because 
they consider him a flight risk.
His teammates on the Catholic Central High School basketball 
squad said Thursday they didn't believe it.
"He got a lot of character, genuine guy," said Ramkel Wal, 17. 
"You know I feel for him right now. Free Johnny. I hope he gets 
out safe. I hope they're taking care of him over there. People are 
going to have their opinions, but until they know the truth, right 
now people shouldn't be saying stuff or bashing anybody."
Canada Border Services Agency arrested Nicola last week after he 
applied for a U.S. visitor's visa and was denied. Windsor police 
said Thursday they are not investigating.
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada said Nicola, from 
South Sudan, arrived in this country through Toronto's Pearson 
International Airport on Nov. 23, 2015. He was issued a student 
authorization to study in Windsor until Jan. 31, 2017.
The board said Nicola's passport indicated he was born Nov. 25, 
1998, as did his application for a student visa.
After coming to Windsor with that visa, he has been attending 
Catholic Central High School as a 17-year-old Grade 11 student.
Nicola, at six-foot-nine and 202 pounds with a shoe size of 16, also 
became a well-known basketball player on the senior boys' 
basketball team. His head coach, who he was living with, even 
touted him as a possible NBA prospect.
Nicola told the Star in January that he was lucky to be in Windsor 
after leaving his home in South Sudan for a better life. He said civil 
war has raged in his homeland since 2013.
Nicola said his home had no running water and some days there 
was no electricity. Some families could afford generators, he said, 
but his wasn't one of them.
No one on the team or at the school appears to have realized 
Nicola's story might not have been entirely true.
"He's not a bad guy, man," said basketball teammate Jojo Cimpeau, 
19. "All these conspiracies people are saying that he's been doing 
sneaky stuff, it's not true man. He's a good guy, he came here for 
one thing and one thing only. He's a good guy and great teammate."
But on April 15, according to the Immigration and Refugee Board, 
Nicola applied for a U.S. visitor visa as a 17-year-old born on Nov. 
25, 1998. That's when authorities determined he was actually born 
on Nov. 1, 1986, according to the board.
The CBSA said that when Nicola tried to get into the U.S. on a 
visitor visa, he was flagged and fingerprinted. The fingerprint 
determined Nicola had previously applied for entry to the U.S. 
using Nov. 1, 1986 as his birthdate.
The CBSA now alleges that Nicola "misrepresented material facts 
on his application for a study permit for Canada" in violation of the 
Immigration Refugee Protection Act.
Nicola will now have a hearing before the Immigration and 
Refugee Board to face allegations he is "inadmissible to Canada on 
grounds of misrepresentation."
He already had a detention hearing on Tuesday where the board 
decided to keep him in custody.
"Mr. Nicola is detained on the grounds that he presents a flight 
risk, as he is unlikely to appear for an upcoming admissibility 
hearing," the board members ruled.
A source with knowledge of the CBSA investigation said the 
authorities are trying to figure out how Nicola was able to get into 
Canada and who, if anyone, helped him.
"The identity he presented himself with, or how he was admitted, 
was based on the fact that he was a high school student when 
somehow after the fact it somehow came to light that was not 
"Who else was complicit in this process, or was anybody else? 
How did he end up at the coach's house? Some aspects of that 
would be investigated."
Nicola previously told the Star he was here on a student visa.
"So he's here temporarily, which makes his removal that much 
easier at that point," the source said.
Unless criminal charges arise, it's more likely Nicola will be 
deported than jailed.
"If he doesn't have a legal right to be in the country then we won't 
let him be in the country," the source said. "There are some 
mechanisms where there could be some review done but I wouldn't 
expect that they would be anything that would hold this process up 
at all if in fact the concerns about his identity were valid."
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