Tuesday, April 7, 2009

IMA condemns Canadian gov’t for immigration raids

Crackdown is omen of worst things to come

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) denounces the Canadian government in the strongest possible terms after its Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) rounded up and detained last week over 100 migrant workers considered illegal in the Greater Toronto Area.

These raids, according to Canadian authorities, are a part of the three-month probe into illegal immigration after a more stringent immigration policy was imposed a few months ago.

“The crackdown on our fellow migrant workers in Canada is not only unjust but inhuman and equally terroristic,” said Eni Lestari, chairperson of the IMA, a global alliance of grassroots migrants and immigrants’ organizations. “By branding illegal workers (or those as called holding precarious immigration status) as criminals, the Canadian government is only sowing a climate of fear among the migrant community and terrorizing those who are already in vulnerable situations.”

The CBSA-imposed crackdown, stated Lestari, will only push illegal migrants into more dangerous and slave-like jobs instead of helping them become regular workers in Canada.

Lestari likened the crackdown to the massive arrests, detention, inhuman treatment and deportation of migrants in the U.S. during George W. Bush’s term. “Apparently, Harper is doing a Bush as he seems to be following into the footsteps of his Big Bully Brother.”

Lestari expressed concerns that these state-instigated attacks are an omen of worst things to come for migrant workers not only in Canada but in the rest of the world.

“Stephen Harper’s government is not the only one brandishing its iron fist on migrant workers,” said Lestari. “As the global financial crisis worsens, governments in Europe and several countries in Asia-Pacific are now eyeing migrant workers as their primary targets. From more repressive anti-migrant policies to lower subhuman wages, migrants will face more than just crackdowns and possibly even more brutal racist attacks if such policies are left unchallenged.”

The IMA expressed solidarity and support with migrant organizations and migrants’ rights advocates who are now campaigning for the immediate and unconditional release of all arrested migrants as well as the implementation of a regularization program for all migrant workers as a better alternative.

The IMA also called on all its members and networks in Canada and other global regions to express solidarity with the affected migrant workers there.

“We will not condone these raids. An attack on one migrant is an attack on all of us,” concluded Lestari.

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