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EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION

Everyone should have access to education, without living in fear of deportation.

Education Not Deportation (END) is a campaign and a coalition of committed people raising awareness, engaging and organizing around issues of migrant justice with schools and educators. We are students, teachers, union members and community members who have joined the movement to ensure that all students regardless of immigration status are able to access education.

END is striving for elementary and secondary schools to be safe and accessible places for all, as outlined in Section 49.1 of the Ontario Education Act (link). END works to ensure that all people have equal access and opportunity to attend colleges, Universities, ESL classes and language schools without fear of immigration authorities and deportation.

Toronto has nearly 200,000 people living and working without status. But not studying. Education is a Right for Everyone - with or without Documents!

END organizers were at schools when students and teachers organized to stop student deportations and we were at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) when students, teachers and community allies successfully pushed for access without fear policies to be adopted in 2007. We now work to get Access Without Fear policies meaningfully implemented and adopted in every local school board and at post-secondary institutions.

The TDSB victory taught us that if we mobilize, we can win. Become part of this struggle to ensure that all people have access to education and places of learning and knowledge.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

LEARN MORE. The Immigration System excludes migrants from gaining permanent status leaving many unable to pay high-fees or get admitted in to schools at all. Visit toronto.nooneisillegal.org/education to read more on these issues.

JOIN the Education Not Deportation campaign! If you are a student in high-school looking for volunteer hours or are a University student interested in social and migrant justice, email end@riseup.net to learn how you can get involved or start your own campaign.

INVITE us to do student workshops. We offer participatory workshops for classes and student conferences. Our workshops draw on the stories of people we work with, participatory activities and multi-media to engage students in exercising critical thinking skills about questions of social justice and world issues and can fit in most University and High School Curriculum. We do 3-5 presentations a month and are able to do more.

INVITE us to do Teacher and Staff Workshop Presentations. We have been offering Professional Development trainings for teachers and staff for the last five years and are tailored to the particular needs of workshop organizers. We work with teachers and school staff to ensure that the DADT policy is being implemented that is context-specific.

CONTACTS:
Education Not Deportation, email: end@riseup
No One Is Illegal, email: nooneisillegal@riseup.net

Elementary & High School
Following the apprehension of Kimberly and Gerald Lizano-Sossa at Dante Alighieri High School in April 2006, students, teachers, parents, trade unionists, and allies mobilized at the Toronto public and Catholic school boards to fight for a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the schools. In June 2006, the TDSB unanimously passed a "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell/Sanctuary Zone" policy that is to come into effect in the 2007/08 school year.

However, the Board has been slow to follow through on this policy, leaving non-status students at risk of being targeted in their schools. All students should be able to access an education without fear of detention and deportation, and we are continuing to mobilize through community meetings and demonstrations to make all schools safe for non-status students.

Post-Secondary Education
June 2006 marked the passing of a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy at the Toronto District School Board. This policy would prohibit school officials from asking individuals about their immigration status and, should they in any way learn about it, from reporting it to immigration officials. This is a major step in the right direction, but we also have to ask: what will happen to students once they graduate?

Before answering this question, it is important to recognize that other locations have come across this very same question and approached it differently. The state of Texas became the first state in the U.S. to provide undocumented students access to state-funded universities while paying in-state tuition. It requires the applicant to submit an affidavit stating that they will attempt to regularize their immigration status as soon as they can. The policy also reconfigured the classification of a “resident” to be an individual who attended a local high school for a particular period of time rather than conflating immigration status and state residence. Issues of access for all students regardless of immigration status, however, require more than the ability to attend the institution, it also requires the means necessary to attend as well as institutional support of various forms. Therefore, an important facet of Texas’ reclassification of undocumented students as residents is that it makes undocumented students eligible for financial aid. Texas university administrators are also not allowed to disclose information regarding the immigration status of students to immigration officials.

While the Texas model appears to be the most equitable system for postsecondary education, short of a full regularization program, the requirement for students to have attended a provincial high school for a predetermined time period is prohibitive for many recent migrants and would therefore exclude them. It is important to consider broader, more inclusive categories of “residents.” Furthermore, similar to the passage of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy at the TDSB, we must ask ourselves what will happen to the student upon graduation. We must ensure that students receiving their degrees be able to use them in the workforce.

It is important that these policy suggestions are not in lieu of a regularization program but rather a possible strategy until one is passed by the government. The call for inclusion of all students regardless of immigration status in postsecondary immigration is part of a larger immigration reform movement in collaboration with various other public service sectors including health clinics, unions, grassroots organizations, shelters, and legal aid groups demanding a full and inclusive regularization program.