Border Rights for Refugees: A multilingual guide

Posted by admin on Apr 5th, 2017

Border Rights for Refugees

A free multilingual guide for non-U.S. citizens coming to Canada from the U.S. to make a refugee claim.

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Thousands of refugees are crossing the Canada-U.S. border, many fleeing escalated sociopolitical, white supremacist, misogynist violence and I.C.E raids in the U.S.

In the first two months of this year, approximately 2000 refugee claims were filed at land ports of entry along the Canadian border. In Quebec alone there are six times more land-border refugee claims than in the same period last year. RCMP have intercepted or arrested (not yet charged) 1,134 refugees – nearly half as many asylum seekers in three months as all of the previous year.

Hundreds have been forced to cross irregularly under dangerous and life-threatening circumstances. People who have contacted us and our networks are primarily from Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Djibouti, Ghana, Nigeria, and Mexico.

The Canadian government and corporate media’s rhetoric about ‘welcoming refugees’ is misleading. There are many discriminatory and unjust barriers, such as the Safe Third Country Agreement that the Canadian government refuses to rescind, and a difficult legal system for refugees to navigate if coming through the U.S. This guide is to better inform and support those making the difficult decision to cross yet another colonial border.

The guide is produced by No One Is Illegal and the Immigration Legal Committee of the Law Union of Ontario. Supported by the African-Canadian Legal Clinic.

PDF of the English here

With professional translations in:
Chinese (Simplified Script)
Filipino (Standardized)
Haitian Creole
Kurdish (Sorani)

Freedom to stay, move, and return!

CBSA enforcement against immigrants on the rise in B.C.

Posted by admin on Feb 2nd, 2016

by Travis Lupick

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) immigration-enforcement activities conducted in B.C. have intensified this year, an analysis of regional department data suggests.

CBSA recently supplied the Straight with statistics for the last two fiscal years (which run from April to March) plus the last nine months of 2015. Based on that data, the Straight estimates that CBSA Pacific region officers will have initiated 2,210 immigration investigations by March 31, 2016. That’s up from 1,843 during the previous fiscal year and 2,060 for 2013-14.

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How Human Rights Organizations Are Implicated in Migrant Deaths

Posted by admin on Apr 23rd, 2015

by Joseph Nevins

The deaths of unauthorized migrants have long scarred the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. But as evidenced by a single incident on Sunday, April 19, the Mediterranean is the global epicenter of such fatalities.

An estimated 850 migrants—from a variety of countries, including Eritrea, Syria, Sierra Leone, and Bangladesh— perished when their less-than-seaworthy vessel capsized in the waters between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa. According to one report, “authorities described a grisly scene of bodies floating and sinking in the warm waters, with the majority of the dead apparently trapped in the ship at the bottom of the sea.”

In response, Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, borrowed a page from the talking points of U.S. authorities by pointing the finger at migrant smugglers. Using words that obscure how the growing strength of the European Union’s border policing apparatus—what many call “Fortress Europe”—effectively requires migrants to rely on professional smugglers and take ever-riskier routes to reach their hoped-for destinations, Renzi called smugglers “the slave drivers of the 21st century.”

It is hardly surprising that officials charged with policing national territorial boundaries do not indict the very system that kills migrants: the nation-state and its associated apparatus of exclusion for those deemed undesirable or unworthy. In the case of international human rights organizations, however, one can and should expect much better. Instead, one gets (at best) handwringing and calls for governments to make greater efforts to rescue endangered migrants. Meanwhile, these same organizations uphold and legitimize the very practices that make migrant fatalities inevitable, and thus help reproduce them.

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On International Migrants Day…

Posted by admin on Dec 19th, 2013

By Shireen Soofi on December 18, 2013

On International Migrants Day, my heart feels heavy but beats strongly for the immense resilience of countless individuals crossing borders that rip apart families, and deny the building and rebuilding of home.

I am reminded by the “local” sign on the fruit stand of the migrant workers who feed us and the strong women who care for elders and children but are denied minimum wage, limited work hours and the benefits of “citizenship” after years of work, life and even government taxes.

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Punishment and Profits: Immigration Detention

Posted by admin on Apr 13th, 2012

AJE Fault Lines investigates the business of immigrant detention in the US.

Immigration is a key issue in the US presidential election, with the Republican candidates trying to demonstrate their tough stance on undocumented immigrants. But under the Obama administration, the detention and deportation of immigrants has reached an all-time high. Every day, the US government detains more than 33,000 non-citizens at the cost of $5.5mn a day. That is a lot of money for the powerful private prison industry, which spends millions of dollars on lobbying and now operates nearly half of the country’s immigration detention centres. Fault Lines travels to Texas and Florida to investigate the business of immigrant detention in the US and to find out how a handful of companies have managed to shape US immigration laws.

Canada ‘selling’ its sovereignty under proposed border deal with U.S.: Report

Posted by admin on Sep 15th, 2011

By Amy Chung and Jordan Press, Postmedia News, 15 Sep. 2011

OTTAWA — The author of a report criticizing Canada’s anticipated trade and security agreement with the United States says Canada is “selling” its sovereignty with no guarantee of a reduction of red tape at the border for Canadian business. On Wednesday, Gar Pardy spoke about his report for the Rideau Institute called Shared Vision or Myopia: The Politics of Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, offering a scathing rebuke of the proposed cross-border agreement with the U.S.

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Illegal Border Crossings Fewer But Just As Deadly

Posted by admin on Aug 7th, 2011

by Ted Robbins, NPR, August 7, 2011

Listen to the Story:

Over the last decade, the U.S. government has spent billions beefing up surveillance, manpower and fencing along the border with Mexico. Fewer people are attempting to cross, but hundreds of migrants still die every year, and not a day goes by without a rescue by border patrol agents. Officials and humanitarian groups are ramping up efforts to find illegal crossers before the worst happens, and they’re hoping new deterrents convince people not to cross in the first place.

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CBSA directive on Tamil migrants: Detain, detain, detain

Posted by admin on Aug 4th, 2011

Vancouver Sun, Chad Skeleton Aug 4 2011

After the MV Sun Sea arrived on B.C.’s coast last summer carrying 492 migrants, we filed a number of Access to Information requests to the Canada Border Services Agency for information on the ship and how the migrants were handled. The first batch of records in response to those requests have started to trickle in. So far, they don’t contain anything particularly shocking. However, there was one memo that was kind of interesting. It’s been well-established since the Sun Sea arrived that the federal government has pushed hard to keep migrants in detention until their refugee hearings occur. This memo gives some indication of just how seriously the government is about keeping the migrants in detention:

CBSA Grounds for Detention

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Arizona’s State-Owned Mexico Border Fence Attracts Donors From Across U.S.

Posted by admin on Aug 1st, 2011

By Amanda Crawford – Aug 1, 2011 9:01 PM PT, Bloomberg

Arizona, whose immigration law sparked a lawsuit by the Obama administration and national boycotts, aims to collect tens of millions of dollars in private donations to build a border fence with inmate labor. The plan, created by lawmakers and signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in April, would turn donations over to a group of Republican legislators, political appointees and four county sheriffs who have criticized U.S. efforts to combat illegal immigration. They say the fence is needed to stop an “invasion” that may include violent criminals and Middle Eastern terrorists disguised as Mexicans.

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Canada, natives locked in uneasy dance over self-governance

Posted by admin on Jul 24th, 2011

Aaron Lynett/National Post Jul 24, 2011 – 12:48 PM ET | Last Updated: Aug 5, 2011 6:55 PM ET

When asked by authorities to declare his citizenship at the Canada-U.S. border in Ontario, Leroy Hill will say, “North American Indian.” When pressed and asked where he resides, the sub-chief of the Iroquois Confederacy will point across the Niagara River and say, “I live on that side of your line,” and then submit his Iroquois passport. Neither the words “Canadian” nor “American” will cross his lips. Never have, he said. Never will. “We’ve never relinquished our sovereignty, we’ve been our own nation for centuries,” said Mr. Hill, of the Six Nations of Grand River, Canada’s largest band of 23,000, with more than half living on a reserve near Brantford, Ont. “We were raised that we’re not Canadian and we’re not American…. I would never carry a Canadian passport.”

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