Yesterday a media leak revealed that immigration officials are recommending the removal of citizenship rights from babies born to non-residents in Canada. This came on the heels of the racial profiling and arrest of 21 undocumented workers in Ontario this weekend. A network of immigrant and refugee groups is condemning both these developments as symptomatic of a “racist system of managed migration.”
Conservative government reforms to citizenship, refugee and immigration law make it harder for migrants to gain permanent residency and citizenship, according to the group. The result has been an increase in the number of people facing detention and deportation. Bill C-31, called the Refugee Exclusion Act by migrant justice activists, has led to dramatic changes that include mandatory incarceration for many refugees as well as revocation of permanent residency status. Bill C-24, dubbed the Stealing Citizenship Act, makes citizenship harder to get and easier for the government to take away.
The East India Defence Committee is one of the groups that has been campaigning against Bill C-24. “The fact that Bill C-24 allows for the revocation of citizenship is illegal and disgraceful, and even more so considering that Indigenous people are the only people who are not themselves descendants of immigrants,” states Lakhbir Khunkhun of the East India Defence Committee.
Reacting to the Conservative government’s changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and statements about the Live-In Caregiver Program, Jane Ordinario of Migrante BC says, “Minister Kenney has cried out that Filipino migrant workers are ‘robbing’ Canadians of their jobs, and implied that live-in caregivers are ‘fraudulently’ using the LCP. His comments are racist. The LCP has systematically marginalized our community into low-wage jobs, robbed countless women of their capacity to fully contribute to society, and torn many families apart.”
“Most avenues to permanent residency and citizenship have been severely gutted as more people are entering Canada as temporary workers rather than as permanent residents,” says Omar Chu of the migrant justice group No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories. “As imperialist capitalism forces migration due to environmental destruction, devastating social and economic conditions, wars, and oppression in countries mainly from the Global South, Canadian programs like the low-skilled Temporary Foreign Worker Program continue to wield the threat of deportation to keep migrant workers in indentured servitude.”
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has stated that the federal government “will not support efforts by any city council in Canada to offer sanctuary to individuals facing deportation.” In response to exclusionary and racist federal immigration laws, groups like Sanctuary Health state it is urgent for city councils to refuse to participate in the Tory government’s enforcement agenda. Byron Cruz of Sanctuary Health adds, “The city is the frontline for people with precarious immigration status, and municipal governments have the responsibility to ensure that every resident of the city feels included and safe. This includes playing a meaningful role in influencing other bodies like Translink and local police forces.”
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