September 3, 2009

Terror and Violence against Migrants

By MaryCarl Guiao

A special bonus feature of a longer article appearing in the next Rebel Youth. Photo is of Cericola Farms.

This April and May, Canadian Border Services Agency (CSBA) conducted violent US-style raids in Simcoe, Toronto, Leamington and Windsor, arresting hundreds of overseas workers with precarious status. Nearly 100 detained workers were rounded up at Cericola Farms’ food processing factories. The workers were held at gun point and herded into a cafeteria, where CBSA separated individuals with proof of citizenship and permanent residency from workers without full documentation, in turn immediately criminalizing the latter. These individuals were then transferred and kept immobile, shackled on a bus for a reported eight hours. Dozens more undocumented people were picked up in places unrelated to their workplace, some by enforcement officers waiting outside of shelters or impersonating lawyers.

More than 100 of these workers were later driven to the Rexdale Immigration Detention Centre, where they were put into a room with no furniture to wait unattended for several more hours. An immigration official then rushed through their rights in a reported 15 minutes using complicated language, saturated in legal terms. The official provided them with biased recommendations, and did not adequately identify documents and materials which migrant workers were pressured to sign. The documents provided are not part of the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This inadequate level of information and support resulted in many workers unintentionally waiving their rights to counsel, options for delaying their removal, and appealing to procedural actions.

Later in April, 43 detained workers, many of which had their original passports stolen from them by their employers, were forced out of Canada and deported to Thailand.

Again, demonstrating no sensitivity and no adherence to morality and true justice, immigration authorities did not consider the context of these cases. Many arrested individuals formerly possessed prior temporary work permits, but fell into a precarious status for a number of legitimate reasons. Some reported that they faced severe danger if they were to return to their countries of origin. At least one was reportedly forced to quit their documented job due to a sexually exploitative employer, in turn voiding their permit.
- Comments

1 comment:

  1. you claim that these illegal workers are not criminals but they broke the law. they were working without authorization to do so, they were not paying taxes, they were living here when they had been here for over 6 months past the time they were permitted. what next? let out the rapists because if the laws don't apply to someone who is here illegally than those who are here legally shouldn't have to follow them as well


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