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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, migrant justice organizers Mina Ramos and Macdonald Scott talk about working in support of the non-cooperation and hunger strikes being waged since mid-September by migrants detained in a maximum security facility in Lindsay, Ontario.
Most of us who are citizens know next to nothing about how Canada’s immigration system actually works. We do not know about the arcane rules, the complicated and arbitrary categories, the shoddy process, or what for many is harsh and oppressive treatment. What we are most likely to hear about often reinforces and certainly elicits sentiments that dehumanize migrants. It is no surprise, then, that many of us are unaware that administrative detention — that is, imprisonment not as punishment for a guilty verdict to a criminal conviction, but as a result of an administrative process — is an integral part of how the system works in certain cases, or that such detention often happens under far worse conditions than are standard in federal prison.
Starting in mid-September, almost 200 detainees at a facility in the southern Ontario town of Lindsay began to resist using various forms of non-cooperation that are collectively being talked of as a strike. Initially their demands focused on immediate conditions, but have now shifted to include the fact that Canada allows itself to keep migrants in detention indefinitely, for years at a time in many instances, which is a violation of international law and is in sharp contrast to the 90 day maximum in the United States and the United Kingdom. Ramos and Scott have been providing support on the outside to the striking detainees. They talk about the strike, the conditions that detainees are resisting, and the ways that all of us can act in support.
For more about the End Immigration Detention campaign, click here.
Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.
Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.