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Migrant Justice Advocates Launch "Stop the Raids!" Campaign in Toronto

Pledge to end racist scapegoating of migrant workers during economic recession

On Saturday June 6, 2009, nearly a hundred people assembled to hear from people directly affected by the recent Immigration raids that have terrorized migrant communities.

Immigration raids conducted in April saw over 100 migrant workers arrested and were followed by another raid in May where nearly 2 dozen workers were arrested.

"We are not illegal" related Flor, a migrant farm worker who witnessed the raids this May. "All we ask for is to make a living".

Another migrant worker who was arrested in the April raids explained her situation: She was forced to quit the job she had a work permit for because of horrendous conditions involving a criminal investigation against her employer. She was arrested in an Immigration raids while working and was jailed for a month.

OPSEU condemns immigration raids, demands full regularization and access to services for undocumented people

No One Is Illegal-Toronto sends greetings of solidarity to delegates at the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) 2009 convention, 23-25 April 2009.

At the convention, OPSEU passed a historic resolution to join community groups in condemning immigration raids, demanding a full and inclusive regularization program (and lobbying NUPGE to take a similar stance), committing to lobbying the province to provide services to undocumented people, demanding that the government enact legislation that regulates recruitment agencies, work with community groups to develop educational materials, workshops and presentations for OPSEU membership and others, and make a financial contribution to No One Is Illegal-Toronto, Migrante Ontario and Justicia for Migrant Workers.

62 found dead in shipping container in Pakistan

Posted in

April 04, 2009
The Associated Press

QUETTA, Pakistan – At least 62 people suffocated to death in a truck container packed with illegal migrants, and dozens were rescued unconscious today after Pakistani police acting on a tip opened the container near the Afghan border.

Rasool Bakhsh, a senior police official in the city of Quetta, said the shipping container the truck was carrying entered Pakistan from Afghanistan and was headed for Iran. He said most of the victims were Afghans.

More than 100 people were packed inside the 12-metre-long metal container, Bakhsh said. Survivors were rushed to the hospital, many of them unconscious.

Khalid Masood, another senior officer, said a total of 62 of the migrants were pronounced dead.

Television footage shot shortly after the white container was opened showed dozens of bodies, many of them stripped to the waist, lined up on the road next to the truck.

Update: Over 100 Migrant Workers Arrested; Communities Demand Their Release

Posted in

April 4, 2009 - Executing massive and unprecedented US-style raids in East Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford, the Canada Border Services Agency has arrested and detained over 100 migrant workers across Southern Ontario.

Hundreds of families and friends are wondering right now why their loved ones have not returned from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status people across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Stephen Harper's Canada.

On early Thursday morning, enforcement officers stormed into three different businesses in Bradford and Markham where they arrested migrant workers. CBSA even followed workers to their homes throughout the GTA and surrounding area. In total 80 people were arrested. They were placed on GO buses, handcuffed and held immobile for hours.

Only a broom for support

Posted in

By Monisha Martins
Maple Ridge News
March 31, 2009

With his left arm wrapped in dirty cotton bandage, Réné Escamilla is the last prisoner to limp into the visitor’s area.

It is crowded with overturned tables, a hastily cleaned whiteboard and has a view of a small concrete-walled prison yard.

Réné hobbles slowly, breaking into a grin when he sees his wife.

Marta frowns as he lowers himself, carefully, into a chair.

“Why the beard?,” she asks in Spanish, her voice drowning in the cacophony of a crowded visitor’s room at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.

Sitting flush against a L-shaped wooden barrier, behind yellowed Plexiglas, the 34-year-old El Salvadorean with scruffy stubble on his chin asks Marta to hold up his baby.

Leylani, at the time just three months old, has the tiny hand and delicate, fragile face that’s typical of premature babies. She’s lost in her yellow woolly cardigan and pink blanket.

Immigrants expose Minister Kenney’s sweeping lies, attacks

Posted in

March 2009 - Jason Kenney, Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, says the overall immigration targets for 2009 have increased for permanent residents (CIC Press Release, 20 Feb 2009). But in Asian, African and Latin American countries people are seeing a different reality, especially in the family class and in overseas refugee cases.

“Our general experience is that visas are being denied at consulates located in South Asia and Latin American basically because many people there are poor and because of the regions they are from. I had a client who was sexually assaulted and needed her mother here to take care of her, but her visa was denied at the consulate in Guatemala City. I generally advise clients who are poor or working people that their chances are very very low and not to waste money hiring counsel” says Simone Stothers, a Certified Immigration Consultant.

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