NOII opposes Armed Border Guards

Posted by admin on Sep 8th, 2006



Vancouver, September 8 2006- The immigrant and refugee rights group No One is Illegal Vancouver is gravely concerned at Prime Minister Stephen Harpers’s announcement to arm Canada’s border guards of the Canadian Border Services Agency over the next ten years, beginning in September 2007.  

“Canadians should be extremely wary of Stephen Harper’s increasing alignment with the United States on military, security, and border issues. While Harper claims that this decision is not a political issue, the Conservatives have substantially integrated border policies with the US through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America and the Smart Border Declaration,” states Harjap Grewal of the immigrant and refugee rights group No One is Illegal-Vancouver.

Upgraded security measures in the post 9/11 climate have led to an increase in racial profiling and invasion of privacy rights. Within weeks of 9/11, Canada has implemented a wide array of laws and practices in the areas of criminal law, immigration law, tax law, employment, intelligence services, and airport security that affects the lives of all Canadians, and particularly the lives of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian immigrants and refugees in Canada.

“It is ironic that border officials, whose job descriptions routinely includes interrogations, intimidation, and who are part of an agency that asserts significant power over the lives of immigrants and refugees, are the ones who are claiming to feel unsafe,” further states Mia Amir of No One is Illegal Vancouver. “The routine abuses of CBSA officers, responsible for ongoing detentions, deportations, and arbitrary enforcement policies are rarely questioned.”

The $101 million going towards arming border guards and hiring 400 more officers is part of the Conservatives $1.4 billion budget towards a larger police force and beefing border security across Canada.

Says Summaya Kassamali “This ever-expanding security apparatus is less about protecting society than it is about creating a culture of fear in the context of the War on Terrorism. It serves as a convenient distraction from the reality that people’s daily lives are increasingly unsafe and insecure due to government cuts to domestic social programs and global policies of war-mongering.”

MEDIA CONTACTS: Harjap Grewal (No One is Illegal Vancouver): 778-552-2099; Summaya Kassamali (No One is Illegal Vancouver): 604-722-1350

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