The Immigrant Migrant Women’s Association of Halifax (IMWAH) acknowledges that COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a range of existing inequalities on Turtle Island (Canada). IMWAH shares the deep concerns being expressed across the country against systemic racism and discrimination against immigrants and migrants and racialized communities.
As a feminist organization supporting im/migrant women, girls and their families, IMWAH acknowledges that for undocumented people, migrant workers and refugee claimants, their precarious migrations status places them in vulnerable situations and this can have devasting consequences during pandemic times.
The recent report Unheeded Warnings details the many systemic problems in Canada’s temporary immigration programs that have bread abuse and exploitation for decades. Many migrant workers, particularly agricultural workers, are living a crisis within a crisis due to border closures, lack of access to health, labor intensification, precarious housing conditions, confinement, and new forms of social isolation.
We applaud the newly announced temporary pathway to permanent residency for some asylum seekers working on the front lines in the healthcare sector during the COVID-19.
We, however, call on the government of Canada to grant full immigration status to ALL undocumented migrants, temporary foreign workers, careworkers, international students, refugee applicants/claimants. Full immigration status will grant all migrants access to the same rights as permanent residents or citizens, including access to full healthcare services. It will give low-waged workers, many of them racialized women, all of them essential, access to stability and dignity.
We urge our government officials and leaders of all institutions and corporations to go above and beyond in leading, working with, and supporting organizations representing those who are often marginalized as we work together to eliminate the long dehumanizing acts towards racialized Canadians and towards migrant women and girls who are marginalized. We urge these officials and leaders to recognize the achievements and contributions of im/migrant and racialized women and youth.
IMWAH stands in solidarity with our community and those impacted by all forms of racism and discrimination. We are deeply affected but strengthened in our mission and vision in building and safeguarding a welcoming community where we can all belong and flourish and experience a Just Recovery.