June 20th is World Refugee Day. I can think of no better way of commemorating our commitment to supporting refugees than joining the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and the Canadian Council for Refugees to demand that the federal government stop charging refugees the cost of getting into this country. Sign this petition to ask the government to get rid of this burden on refugees.
One month after the death of 42-year-old hotel worker and Mexican migrant Lucia Vega Jimenez in Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) custody, I received a call from a young Haitian woman at the same prison Lucia had been in. Unlike most detainees, she did not call to ask for legal advice to fight for her release, nor was she seeking support to stop her deportation. She called to ask me if I could find information on preventing the spread of infection. She had just miscarried.
One month after Lucia's death, another migrant death in detention.
It's always been a symbolic reflection of Canadian refugee and immigration policy that the name of the country's largest newcomer processing centre is the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre (GTEC). There is no official welcoming centre for those fleeing persecution and related horrors. Rather, GTEC is a machine devoted to tracking down, detaining and deporting as many people as possible who have been failed by Canada's broken refugee determination process.
Related rabble.ca story:
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Have you seen the pictures? All the kids, sleeping on floors in row upon row, detained by the Department of Homeland Security. There are more children coming in every day, and the federal government doesn't know where to keep them.
Muhammed Sillah has been held at the Immigration Holding Centre Rexdale since the Canadian Border Services arrested him on May 22, 2013. He was denied refugee status despite the danger he will face if he is deported to Gambia. Despite being granted a stay by the Federal Court he remains in detention. There he has been subjected to racial abuse, inadequate medical services and has been denied visits from family by CBSA officials. rabble.ca published an excellent interview with Mr. Sillah on July 25, 2013.
Toronto's legendary refugee rights lawyer Barb Jackman has a unique way of framing issues at their most human level, an art often lost by those who spend their lives in courts and immigration tribunals fighting for their clients' right not to be deported to torture and other cruelties. Testifying recently before a Senate committee on a repressive piece of deportation legislation, Jackman aptly summed up the mean political culture that increasingly grips the land.