Sunday, April 5, 2009

Migrante Ontario rallies against anti-immigrant raids

5 April 2009

We stand together with migrant workers and migrants’ advocates today to condemn the recent raids on workplaces and homes conducted April 3 by immigration enforcement authorities. Close to a hundred people – Chinese, Thai and Filipino among them - were arrested and detained.

We express deep concern for the way these migrants were treated as criminals being handcuffed for hours. Regardless of status, these migrant workers are not criminals. They are “the unrecognized hands that contribute a lot to the economies of the countries they work in and countries where they come from.”

It is regrettable that instead of choosing to implement comprehensive immigration reform that can be just and equitable, the Harper government and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney have chosen the enforcement path as response to the immigration problem.

Undocumented migrants have the same desire just like us to provide for the well being of their families. The existence of undocumented migrants is a part of the whole phenomenon of the forced migration of people and the commodification of human labour.

The worsening economic and political conditions that they faced in their home countries force them to migrate and seek fortune regardless of their status.

Like all migrant workers, they are sources of cheaper and docile labor force found in sweatshops, farms and even in households though where most do not enjoy many benefits and rights that the former enjoy including medical insurance. Despite their status, the contributions of undocumented migrants to the economies of Canada and their home countries are undeniable.

We believe that we need a clear and fair immigration policy.

Crackdown operations must end. Those arrested must be treated humanely and not as criminals.

Non-status workers have human dignity and human rights that should be respected at all costs.

Governments at both provincial and federal levels must work to ensure that the protection of workers must be put in place regardless of the worker’s status.

The Canadian government should initiate a comprehensive review of immigration policy that includes addressing the regularization of non-status migrants.

Migrante Ontario

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