Immigration officials in Windsor, Canada, have arrested an illegal immigrant from Africa who has been playing basketball for a local Catholic high school for the past six months. Authorities suspect the immigrant is a 30-year-old man, and not a teenager.
Over the last year Jonathon Nicola became somewhat of a sensation as a basketball player for the Catholic Central High School Comets in Windsor, Ontario, but now, as the Windsor Star reports, the man has been remanded to the custody of the South West Detention Centre, accused of being a grown man whom lied about his age on immigration documents.
Apparently the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board hesitates to say much about the arrest.
“There’s really not a whole lot to say,” district spokesman Stephen Fields said. “Because of the fact this is a matter that’s still outstanding before the federal authorities, obviously we can’t really comment on it. Beyond that there’s not a whole lot to say.”
Fields added that district officials “make sure” all students entering the schools from foreign nations “have all of the necessary government documentation” to legally enroll.
The six-foot-nine, 202-pound player who lived with the team’s coach through the Canada Homestay program, was reportedly arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency for violating the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. The government didn’t release details on exactly what Nicola is being accused of but he is scheduled for a hearing next week.
Coach Pete Cusumano said he had no comment about the man he assumed was a 17-year-old high schooler. Not long ago the coach had even touted Nicola as an NBA prospect once he graduates from high school.
The immigrant is said to have taken six months to gain his entry visa and told authorities upon arriving that he was just turning 17.
“A few of my friends know of my background, how we live over there,” Nicola said in January. “I don’t know how many of them have a clue of how it is in Africa.”
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