Model Minority is a publication assembled by Gendai, a non-profit visual arts organization that engages the East Asian diasporic community in Canada. This volume is a collection of research in the form of essays, articles, and commissioned artist projects that broach the subject of “model minority” in North America. By combining artists projects with archival material, academic research and recent political activities, the book investigates a territory usually given exclusively to social sciences.
In Vancouver, as in many cities around the world, Mexican nationals gather to show support for those living in their home country, with signs that read “Ya me canse” (I am tired), “Me dueles México” (I hurt for you, Mexico”), and “Quisieron enterrarlos, pero no sabían que eran semilla” (They wanted to bury them, but they didn’t know they were seed).
The notion of a more ‘humane prison’ with more staffing (i.e increased management and control of detainees) and better services detracts from the critical question of why an increased number of migrants are being detained and deported, and does nothing to challenge the federal government’s plans of prison expansion.
Osman Fernando de León Reyes, a 29-year old Guatemalan man, is facing deportation from Surrey next week. His lawyer is seeking a judicial stay order from the Federal Court of Canada to urgently stop his deportation so that Mr. Reyes is not separated from his family and not deported back to imminent danger in Guatemala.
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.”
The decrease in permanent immigration and simultaneous explosion of the number of migrant workers is not, as some might contend, a reflection of a ‘broken’ immigration system. The temporary foreign worker program is a system of managed migration perfected to ensure the steady supply of cheap labour within neoliberalism while further entrenching racialized citizenship. What happens to migrant workers should matter to all of us because dispossession, labour flexibility, and hierarchical social relations are central to how capitalism and colonialism marginalize various communities.