#MigrantStrike Day 3: My name is Patrick and I’m calling from the Lindsay institution.

My name is Patrick and I’m calling from the Lindsay institution.

We are going on hunger strike at this moment right now.

We are in this together, we gotta make this happen cause we’re really really tired of being in here. We can’t take this no more.
Nothing has been done, after all these years.

Everyday we’re looking forward to changes to come and we don’t know when they’re actually going to happen.

And right now, we’re tired. We’re all tired of being in here. We can see nothing has been for the whole of this year, for all those years we’ve been detained and in jail.

I’m one of the longest. Nearly I’ve been in for over two years and six months. They’ve been trying to deport me back to my motherland in Ivory Coast but I don’t know when this is actually going to take place.

I want the media to know what we’re going through in jail. The pain, the struggle and suffering…

We want the media to take action, to do something about this, for the public to get our attention as well.

We want to see some changes for the better. That’s what we’re protesting for. We’re protesting because we want to have a change.
We want to have our freedom as well. That’s the main reason we are doing this.

We don’t know when this hunger strike is going to end but today is the first day but we are all doing this.

Act Now: Tell Ontario to #EndDetentions

160614_EIDN_MentalHealth_Rev-01.pngA growing chorus of voices are calling on Ontario to stop imprisoning migrants without charges or trial. The tide is turning, and a new Minister has been assigned to the issue. If we act now, we can end this unjust practice. 

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146 doctors, nurses and social workers and 109 lawyers called on Ontario to end the province’s deal with Ottawa that allows the jailing of immigration detainees in provincial prisons earlier this month.

Today 85 immigration detainees at Lindsay’s Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) are adding to the chorus, re-asserting their long standing demand to end their maximum security imprisonment in provincial jails without charges or trial. Help to amplify their message by calling, emailing and tweeting today, scroll below to see how. One-third of all immigration detainees in Canada are held in provincial jails, even though immigration is a federal matter.  

“Everyone has mental health problems. Once a month a psychiatrist comes to talk to you, and they only give you a sleeping pill. This is not helping my mental health, it’s making me sleep, that’s it. We don’t want to sleep, we want to be healthy. We are refugees being treated like bad people and nothing ever changes. Immigration detention needs to stop now.” – Ebrahim Toure, forty-five, from Guinea who has been detained for three years and seven months at CECC without cause. 

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Public Letter from the Family of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga

Please read full press release accompanying this open letter here.

On Sunday, March 13, 2016, Francisco Javier Romero Astorga – our brother, our son – died in immigration detention custody. No one has told us how Francisco died, or why he was in prison. To date, no one from the federal Canadian government, including the Canada Border Services Agency, has contacted us. We do not know of an autopsy and no results of any tests or reasons for his death have been given to us.

All we know is that his body lies in a hospital, and that we must pay nearly $10,000 to bring his body home to give him a proper burial. Our brother, our son’s body has been in a hospital for ten days already, and we are in pain every minute that passes. Behind all this tragedy is a family and a mother who are grieving.

We are writing this open letter to the Canadian government and the Canadian people to request information and support. We want to know why our son, our brother died. We want to know what the Canadian government is doing to make sure this does not happen to anyone else again. We want the Canadian government to provide us the financial resources to return Francisco to us so that he can be laid to rest.

Please sign this petition calling for an end to deadly immigration detentions! Continue reading

Two Year Anniversary of MigrantStrike

“I’m on immigration, I’m going on 3 years now and right now it’s been two years since we did the hunger strike.”

On September 17th, 2013, one hundred and ninety-one immigration detainees held in the Central East Correctional Centre, in Lindsay, Ontario, began a hunger strike calling for an end to their indefinite detention. This past week marked the two year anniversary of beginning of the strike. As the Canadian government continues to detain thousands without trial or charge in prisons across the country, detainees in Lindsay continue to organize and resist.

Today we are releasing some new messages from detainees, recorded over our line to mark the anniversary of the struggle.

“I’m a detainee at Lindsay correctional centre. I’m on immigration, I’m going on 3 years right now and right now it’s been two years since we did the hunger strike. Nothing has changed, everything is the same. I’m a Somalian nationality and Somalia is not issuing me no travel documents and Canada is using their own travel documents to take me back to my country, which is not right. We’re here and we’re trying to stay strong, and want you to know that we are away from our family and our loved ones and hopefully soontime we could be with them. Thank you, you guys, for keeping up the good fight for us and we do appreciate it. Thanks ya’ll.”

Read the detainees demands.

Read the one year anniversary report. Second anniversary report coming soon.

Read our groundbreaking report on immigration detention. 

These walls must fall. These walls will fall. Freedom to move, return, stay!

Hunger-striking friends of man who died in immigration custody speak out

Toronto – One week after the death of a 39 year old, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan at the hands of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), immigrants imprisoned without trial or charges along with their families, and friends are refusing food today inside and outside of the Central East Correctional prison. Detainees in Toronto East Detention Centre will be joining them. The one-day fast is to commemorate the death of their close friend, and to demand an end to immigration detention. Detainees and End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading immigration detention watch group are also calling for a Coroner’s Inquest into Hassan’s death as well as the implementation of recommendations from Lucia Vega Jimenez’s death, a 90 day limit on immigration detention, an end to maximum security imprisonment and overhaul of the judicial process. Detainees and EIDN are also calling on the SIU to speak to detainees who have not yet been interviewed, and for the Ontario government to take responsibility for its role in these deaths.

“When we woke up [on June 12th] they told us Hassan died from a stroke. A newspaper said he was being restrained and died. We’re wondering who’s next. Am I next? Are my fellow friends my brothers here next who’s next ? We’re on immigration hold, you don’t know what’s gonna happen so you have the fear of losing your life, being assaulted or being forced to get on a plane. There’s a lot of concerns that we have” said T.R., one of the over 50 hunger fast participants, a 27 year old father who has lived in Canada for 12 years, and has been in detention for 5 months.

On June 11, 2015, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, jailed in Ontario’s maximum security Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, died in a Peterborough hospital after being “restrained” by officers according to Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). Few details have been released surrounding the events that led to the detainee’s death. This is the 12th such recorded death in immigration custody since 2000. No recommendations from inquiries or inquests into any of those deaths have ever been implemented.

Twain, another detainee on hunger strike adds, “If anybody had criminal records they already paid their dues, but here they treat us so bad. It’s messed up how things happened. He was sick already and had altercations with guards before. He was walking good before, like straight. After the first altercation his back was bent he wasn’t walking straight anymore. After that he had another stroke. Last time he got beat up by guards in solitary and, rushed to hospital.This is what the guards told me. The situation in the hole is messed up. Only get a shower every other day. You sit there the guard walks by have to wait 30 minutes to an hour to wish for a guard to walk by in case something happens to you.”

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Alpha has spent his entire life in jail. He is 16 months old. Watch till 2:08 to find out why.

It’s Glory Anawa’s 29th birthday today. Since February 2013, she has been imprisoned in immigration jails in Ontario without charge or trial. Canada cannot deport her but will not release her.

Her son, Alpha Ochigbo was born in the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre on August 25th, 2013. Alpha has not seen a single day of freedom.

Alpha is Glory’s second child that she is raising inside an immigration jail. Her daughter Tracy was born in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in the United Kingdom.

Horrific as Glory’s story is, it is not an exception. Racialized and poor migrants are locked up in jails around the globe for the desire to move. Without adequate supports, women, children and trans people face great harm.

We know this also because December is the one-year anniversary of Lucia Jimenez Vega’s death in immigration enforcement custody in Vancouver.

Today, Glory marks her birthday in prison. Migrant justice activists across these lands mourn Lucia’s death. Today, we honour the lives and struggles of the millions that are forced out of their homes, the thousands that die crossing borders. Today, with you, we reaffirm our commitment to struggle until all these walls fall, until we all are free, until no one is illegal.

Freedom to Move!
Freedom to Return!
Freedom to Stay!


For media inquiries, please email migrantstrike@gmail.com

Family Day Weekend Letter: Our children ask us ‘When will they return?’

When will they return LeadNow2We are mothers, fathers, wives, partners and friends of migrant men locked up in maximum-security jails across Ontario. Our loved ones are being indefinitely jailed by Immigration Canada, and have been denied every opportunity to re-join their families and friends.

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We are mothers and fathers who are waiting to be reunited with our first born and our youngest sons. We are wives and partners whose children look at their father’s shoes and ask us when they will return. We are stay-at-home moms, and elderly parents who have to leave our children, and our sick family members in search of jobs as our family’s breadwinner has been taken away. We are caught in the crocodile jaws of immigration, spending thousands of dollars we don’t have on legal fees.

Some of our loved ones started getting into trouble with the law at a young age because our families broke down, or because we were too busy trying to survive with multiple jobs to keep them on the right path. They have all served their jail terms yet are facing double punishment. Others have never been arrested or charged with any crime.

Our loved ones have been locked up in jail, some for six months, others for nearly ten years. They are stuck in jails and their lives are passing them by. What purpose does this serve? They want to pull their lives together but how can they do it behind bars? How can they pay a lawyer or gather their immigration documents without work, phones or internet access? Continue reading