Media release Uncategorised

News release: Haligonians call attention to immigration detention in Canada

Halifax / K’jipuktuk (October 2, 2019) – On Thursday, October 3rd  at 12pm, Haligonians will participate in a multi-city Day of Action Against Canada’s Detention of Immigrants. Organizers and supporters of No One is Illegal – Halifax / K’jipuktuk (NOII-Hfx) will go to the campaign office of MP Andy Fillmore (6450 Quinpool Rd) to deliver a mailbox filled with letters from the public calling for an end to immigrant detention. 

The Day of Action, which seeks to target the sprawling infrastructure of Canada’s immigration detention system, was called for by Montreal-based migrant justice group Solidarity Across Borders, which is opposing the construction of the new Laval immigrant detention centre. The Day of Action seeks to hold accountable the companies who profit off the detainment of migrants and asylum-seekers, along with all those complicit, as well as demand changes from the Canadian state. 

While in office, the Trudeau government has sought to increase deportation by up to 35%. In 2016, the Liberal government invested an additional $138 million in new immigrant detention facilities, in order to facilitate deportation from Canada. They also ushered in sweeping anti-refugee changes through their omnibus budget bill, C-97. Already these changes are leading to the detention of asylum-seekers to Canada who’ve been pushed out of the U.S. by Trump’s anti-refugee policies. Meanwhile, the Liberal government continues with its efforts to expand the unjust Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.

“We know that change does not begin nor end with electoral politics” said NOII-Hfx organizer, Tina Oh. “Migrant justice comes from solidarity, and the demands of migrants and refugees. That being said, we also need to hold those in positions of power accountable.” 

“Many Canadians rightly express outrage over the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border, but are unaware of similar abuses within the Canadian immigration system — including our harmful detention policies” said NOII-Hfx organizer, Stacey Gomez. 

To date, Canada remains one of the few countries in the world that practices indefinite immigrant detention. Moreover, Canada continues its practice of child immigrant detention. Detention seriously affects migrants’ physical and mental health. Former detainees report repeated night terrors, severe  depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, sleeping disorders, and other symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly 20 migrants have unjustly died in Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) custody since 2000.

In Nova Scotia, migrants and asylum-seekers are held in the province’s largest provincial jail, the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside, mere kilometers from Halifax. No One is Illegal – Halifax / K’jipuktuk calls for an end to immigration detention and deportations, as well as status and services for all. 

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Stacey GomezNo, One is Illegal – Halifax / K’jipuktuk: