NOII Statment on the (kinda) recent raids in Toronto

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Le T Le T's picture
NOII Statment on the (kinda) recent raids in Toronto


Le T Le T's picture

Didn't see this anywhere else but I'm notoriously bad at finding old threads...

No One Is Illegal-Toronto Statement on the Auditor General's Report & SDR
Distribution Raid

On 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2007, thousands of people took to the streets in
New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Montreal and Vancouver. In Toronto, 2000
demonstrators took over Toronto's west end chanting "No One Is Illegal".

Two days later, the Auditor General released a report, claiming that she
had "discovered" that there are 41,000 undocumented people in Canada,
people she termed "illegal" that cannot be traced by the Canadian Border
Security Agency (CBSA). Increased funding of the agency was the only
solution, she urged.

In an effort to showcase what that would mean, the CBSA raided SDR
Distributors on Matheson Blvd. in Mississauga. SDR's warehouse was
barricaded by Peel Regional Police while CBSA immigration agents swept
through the plant checking ID's and arresting 45 undocumented women and
men. The arrested workers were detained and remain incarcerated.

This is the first raid of this scale in Canada, and is a shift towards US
style immigration enforcement practices in Canada. This is a serious
escalation of anti-migrant rhetoric and tactics by Harper's government
which in light of the changes to IRPA in Bill C-50 barely a month ago
showcases the conservatives' intention to isolate, exploit and brutalize
migrant communities. Further, municipal police services should not be used
to enforce federal immigration laws, taken away from their regular duties
to attack people at work.

It is necessary to understand what the AG means by 'missing Illegals'.
These are undocumented people that have been denied refugee status, and
continue to live and work in the country, paying taxes, unable to access
health services, education benefits, police protection or housing while
constantly fearing detention and deportation. Living in fear and in the
shadows, undocumented peoples are rarely involved in criminal activities,
instead living in poverty and subjugation.

The AG argues that "legals" are (a) Refugee claimants, pending the outcome
of their claim; (b) Temporary Resident Permit holders; (c) Permanent
residents and (d) Recipients of a stay of removal. What she forgets to
mention is that categories a, b and d are unable to access any of the
services that Canadian citizens can, living precariously like undocumented
people, fearing incarceration, surviving as non-status.

CBSA statistics clearly show that people with criminal records are the
first to be targeted, thus calling workers who happen to be undocumented,
illegal or criminal, is a clear lie. It is also impossible to enter Canada
without ID documents, so the people being termed criminals, have actually
been allowed to enter the country because they were considered
non-threatening. Further, crime is a criminal justice issue not an
immigration one – people who have been convicted have served their time
and using immigration system to target workers with violations who have
served time decades ago is a clear case of double punishment.

The refugee determination process has been allowed to fall into chaos
since Harper came to power. Thirty percent of the positions on the
Immigration and Refugee Board remain vacant, resulting in a backlog of
45,000 cases, rising to 84,000 by 2010 (up from almost no backlogs in
2005). IRB appointments are pork barrel political appointments, making
arbitrary and uninformed decisions.

A Refugee Appeal Division has still not been established, despite
legislation requiring the government to do so. Thus people denied refugee
status have no means to appeal the decision. The safe third country
refugee agreement with the US has been condemned by Canadian courts and
the refugee "turn back" policy of border agents has been condemned by the
UN High Commission on Refugees as a violation of international law, yet
these practices continue unabated.

Since coming to office, the Harper government has been rapidly expanding
immigration without full status, even offering "same week service" for
employers seeking temporary workers in some cities. These temporary status
peoples often end up without status.

When arrested, those in detention are brutalized. The Attorney General
accepts that "The Agency has established standards for the treatment of
individuals while in detention, but does not ensure that these standards
are met".

Further she confirms that "the Agency does not collect suitable
information to determine whether consistent and fair decisions regarding
the detention and release of individuals is made regardless of their

Last June, a parliamentary majority passed a motion for a moratorium on
deportations and for a regularization program for undocumented people.
Despite this motion, Harper and the CBSA carry on with detentions and
deportations – business as usual. In this session of parliament, Harper
introduced Bill C 50 to put immigration policy beyond the reach of

Instead of expanding funding for the overworked, under funded, citizenship
ministry, the government is pouring money into its enforcement arm. This
clearly shows a preference for the stick and the gun, rather than an open
consultative process that involves affected communities.

The vulnerability of migrants and refugees arriving in Canada, especially
from former colonial countries, is exploited by the rich. Canada's
immigration policy is capital centered, serving the interests of the rich
minority with political power.

A recent Statscan report says male immigrant workers receive wages 37%
below the standard Canadian wages in every category, while recent women
immigrant workers receive wages 44% below the Canadian standard. As well,
a super exploited strata is being created in the working class, made up of
undocumented workers and other workers with temporary or conditional
status and based on fear of deportation. Raids such as the raid at SDR
Distributors are meant to terrorize people without status, enforcing the
fear of deportation which allows the exploitation of 500,000 non-status
people in the country.

Categories, numbers and quotas are being used to further exclude people on
the basis of class, gender, sexuality and race. This exploitation and fear
will only stop when a full and inclusive regularization program is
implemented, one which grants permanent status to all undocumented people
living and working in this country.

No One Is Illegal – Status for All!


Was anyone in responsibility at SDR arrested too? I would hope so.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Why would you hope so?

So that it would send a message to other employers, and thus nobody without proper documentation would ever be able to find work in Canada again?



Works for me. Otherwise why bother having immigration rules at all?

It's Me D


Otherwise why bother having immigration rules at all?

Good idea let's not!