April 2006- Flyer text of Rally in Response to Massive Roundups in Toronto

Posted by admin on Apr 10th, 2006


A recent wave of high-profile mass deportations in the Toronto Portuguese community, as well as reports of checks and raids that occurred at Dufferin Mall and in other public places targeting members of the Latin American, Portuguese, and Caribbean communities, indicate that American-style “immigration sweeps” have been taking place in the past two weeks in Toronto and may be of concern in other cities. Certainly, these events have been cause for outrage in immigrant and refugee communities across the country.

We are here because every day thousands of migrants and their families struggle against the uncertainties created by Immigration Canada. Lack of status, deportations, detentions, and security certificates all contribute to making migrants vulnerable to exploitation, poverty, insecurity and indignities that no one should suffer. They are forced underground; threatened with detention or with deportation to desperate situations; and subjected to discriminatory legal standards. Non-status peoples and immigrants in Canada, whether they be workers in low-income jobs such as janitors, factory workers, cooks or migrant workers in programs such as the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Program or the Live In Care-giver Program, make up the backbone of the Canadian economy yet continue to be treated as second-class citizens in contravention of the basic principles of justice and equality. The people whose lives have been torn apart by Canadian immigration are not anonymous; they are our friends and neighbors. Some families threatened with deportation have lived and worked in Vancouver for several years and have Canadian-born children; this is their home.

In the current political context, as Canada rushes to harmonize its border policies with the United States to create a unified “Fortress North America”, the situation of immigrants and refugees is worsening.  Just last week the Canadian government renewed its commitment in aligning Canadian border enforcement and general security measures with the United States through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America as a move that will inevitably lead towards a gross invasion of privacy and targeting of particular communities because of their name and perceived religions as we have witnessed in the United States in the post 9/11 climate.

The checks and raids in Toronto as well as the regular enforcement practices carried out by Immigration Canada across the country are of high concern. They mimic the US-style enforcement approach that sparked a 500,000-person march in Los Angeles in recent weeks and numerous other massive protests across the US. We call for you, as Minister of Public Safety, responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency, to tell us how exactly you perceive such harassment and essentially punishment of racialized communities to be contributing to the security and well-being of residents with and without status in this country. We also call on you to tell us what you intend to do to regularize these and all non-status people in Canada who number in the tens of thousands and continue to be exploited particularly because of their lack of status.

As immigrants, refugees, non-status people, and supporters, we bring to you the following demands:
– That the CBSA and CIC immediately release all those who have been detained in these recent raids.
– That the CBSA and CIC immediately cease these ID checks and requests of immigration papers from people in public places. 
– That all non status peoples in Canada be regularized and that this government end its practices of detention and deportation.
– That this government end the use of security certificates.

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