No One Is Illegal Vancouver – Our Vision

No One is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories is a grassroots anti-colonial migrant justice group with leadership from members of migrant and/or racialized backgrounds. We are an all-volunteer group; none of our organizers are paid. As a movement for self-determination that challenges the ideology inherent to immigration controls, we believe that there are no illegal or undeserving human beings, only inhumane and immoral laws. We strive and struggle for the right to remain, the freedom to move, and the right to return.

We seek an end to detentions and deportations and the violence of all forms of control. The popular conception is that undesirables are being expelled because they have failed the appropriate legal channels. However, an increasing number of migrants are being deported because of structural flaws in the system. Most migrants are prisoners of passage, criminalized simply for being poor and trying to migrate. Canadian immigration policies serve to consolidate the development of Fortress North America, using free trade to open borders to capital, while exploiting the people- mostly women- whose free movement it regulates through displacement, deportation, and the creation of hyper-exploitable labour on which the economy of the North is built upon.

We demand status for migrant workers and all those who have been deemed illegal. The number of people admitted each year on temporary worker visas is now greater than the number admitted as permanent residents. The number of undocumented migrants is also ballooning, as hundreds of thousands are forced underground and endure extreme poverty, inadequate access to health care and education,  low wages, dangerous working conditions, and the constant fear of deportation. The threat of deportation is inherent to what makes migrant workers and non-status people extremely vulnerable to abuse. Border imperialism serves Canadian industries that depend on exploitable and indentured labour in order to reap high profits while driving down the wages of all workers.

We aspire to workers control over their own production, not corporate wage-slave conditions that commodify human beings, especially women. Women of colour are particularly over-represented in work characterized by low wages, irregular hours, and lack of unionization and instability, such as garment work, domestic work, home support work, and factory work.

We are all human. People are worth more than their value in capital or labour, and are not inferior or undesirable due to their race, nationality, gender, or ability. Such ideas have justified the dehumanization and genocide of peoples across the world. Canada and its economy is built on the theft of Indigenous lands, exploitation of labour especially slave, migrant, and reproductive labour, and the global appropriation of natural resources.

Government and corporate involvement in military occupations, most recently through the War on Terror and land takeovers facilitated by free trade agreements such as NAFTA continue to be a prime reason for the repression, destitution, and migration of millions of people. Locally, colonial policies from the Indian Act to residential schools, and anti-immigrant measures from the Japanese internment to Security Certificates, have reinforced racism and cast entire communities as racial outsiders.

In light of this reality, we assert that people have the right to remain in their homes in the face of global displacement due to land theft, occupation, environmental degradation, and other capitalist and imperialist forces. In light of the unfettered freedom afforded to capital and armies across otherwise fortified borders, people should be free to move whether due to persecution, poverty, or simply in order to flourish with dignity.  People also have the inherent right to return to the lands of which they have been unjustly dispossessed.

The ongoing apartheid reality instituted through reserves and sweatshops is one that must be fundamentally uprooted and transformed. We believe in decolonization and redistribution, and in dismantling interconnected systems such as capitalism, homophobia, imperialism, occupation, patriarchy, poverty, and racism. We envision and actively strive for a humanity based on the values of self-determination and liberation, where everyone has the right to sustenance and the ability to provide it, where we are all free of oppression and exploitation, where each of us has control over decisions that affect our bodies and our communities, and where everyone is able to live abundantly and meaningfully in respectful and responsible relationships to one another and in reverence for the earth that sustains us.

The No One is Illegal campaign has two goals: to attain concrete victories for immigrants and refugees, and to develop the communities’ own capacity to attain justice and dignity for themselves and their families. We organize from the basic principle that directly affected communities and individuals lead their own struggles, and those of us who participate as allies do so from a position of solidarity not charity.We see strength in our unity and real justice will come as communities in struggle build greater trust in visions of an alternate world and organize, educate, act and fight for their own self-determination.

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Phone: 778 552 2099
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