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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Deaths in Detention: Families need answers – Call Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety TODAY

Francisco Javier Romero Astorga died 10 days ago and CBSA has refused to explain why he died. They haven’t even contacted his family. Francisco’s family want to know why their brother died, they want the Federal government to pay for his body to be sent home, they want to assurances that this will never happen again. And they are asking for your help.

Read the letter to the Canadian public from the Francisco’s family:

WHAT: Please call Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety at 613-991-2924 and ask him to release information to Francisco’s family, pay for transportation costs, and commit to ending detentions.

WHEN: Thursday, March 24

HOW: Sample phone script below. Continue reading

Grieving family seeks answers for death in immigration detention.

Media Contact: Macdonald Scott, 647 761 3860
Full family statement and pictures can be found here


Toronto – Ten days after his death in Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) custody, the grieving family of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga are still seeking answers. To date, CBSA has not revealed Francisco’s name and has not contacted his family with details on his death. Migrant justice groups are criticizing CBSA’s lack of transparency and insisting on an end to immigration detention.

The family made an appeal to the Canadian public this afternoon for help in getting answers. “Francisco left Chile in perfect health, he spent much of his recent time in Canada in immigration detention and now he is dead.  All we know is that the cause of death is ‘undetermined’, it makes no sense,” said his brother Esteban over Skype at a press conference in Toronto today.

“Francisco was a dreamer who was always looking to make the future brighter. He went to Canada for a ‘new beginning’ and we can’t rest till we at least know how he died, and that other families will not suffer like us,” added his sister Cecilia.

While the CBSA has not even released Francisco’s name, Francisco’s family members contacted the migrant justice coalition and detentions watch-dog End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN) after reading about the group’s vigil for deaths in detention last week.

“Francisco would not be dead today if he had not been in immigration detention,” says End Immigration Detention Network member Macdonald Scott. “How can someone just die in government custody and we are told that the cause of death is unknown? There have been 14 such deaths in immigration detention since 2000, 7 in just the last three years. Immigration detention is killing people and it must end.” Continue reading

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

Family of man who died in immigration detention seeking answers

Toronto — Grieving parents and siblings of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga, who died in immigration detention on March 13th, will be asking the Canadian public for help to obtain answers about Francisco’s death in a press conference via Skype on March 23, 2016. The Canada Border Services Agency or the federal government have not even publicly released Francisco’s name and are yet to explain the cause of Francisco’s mysterious death in immigration detention. End Immigration Detention Network will join them in calling for answers and demanding an end to immigration detention.

Francisco is the 14th person known to have died in while being detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and is the second person to die in CBSA custody in the span of a week. On March 7, 64 year old refugee Melkioro Gahungu committed suicide under CBSA’s watch in immigration detention rather than be deported to Burundi from where he fled. Currently a protest is underway outside Toronto Police Headquarters by Black Lives Matter Toronto against a number of instances of anti-Black violence in Canada including Mr Gahungu’s death.

WHAT: Parents and siblings of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga from Chile will share information about their brother and release an open letter calling for an explanation for his death. 

WHEN: 1pm, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WHERE: Suite 223, 720 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
VISUALS: Parents and siblings of Francisco on Skype, pictures of Francisco and his family. 
Interviews before and after with the family will not be possible, so members of the press are encouraged to attend the press conference on March 23.

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Second death in immigration custody in one week reignites calls for detentions overhaul

End Immigration Detention Network
March 15, 2016

Media Contact: Syed Hussan (416 453 3632), Estefania Alfonso (416 809 7620) – No One Is Illegal – Toronto

Second death in immigration custody in one week reignites calls for detentions overhaul

Toronto — Immigration rights coalition End Immigration Detention Network is enraged and dismayed after a second immigration detainee died in Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) custody in one week. An emergency vigil will be held at CBSA offices to call for immediate action from the Trudeau government to end indefinite detention, end the use of provincial jails for immigration detention, overhaul of the judicial review process, and create an oversight body over the CBSA as first steps towards ending immigration detention.

WHAT: Emergency Vigil Against Deaths in Immigration Detention
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, March 15, 2016
WHERE: CBSA Offices, 74 Victoria Street
VISUALS: Dozens of concerned residents at candlelit vigil holding names and pictures of detainees who have died. Continue reading

Emergency Vigil: No More Deaths in Immigration Detention!

12819281_908687752581602_4884663187356115438_oWHAT: Emergency Vigil Against Deaths in Immigration Detention
WHEN: 630pm, Tuesday, March 15, 2016
WHERE: CBSA Offices, 74 Victoria Street

Two immigration detainees have died in the custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency in less than a week.

Melkioro Gahungu was the 13th person to die in immigration detention custody since 2000. He hung himself earlier this week rather than be deported.

On Sunday, Francisco Javier Romero Astorga became the 14th. He died suddenly early Sunday at Maplehurst Correctional Complex, in Milton.

It’s time to end the deaths, it’s time to end immigration detention. Come out to the vigil and honour those who have died and demand change.

Please sign the petition at:

#Not1More #NoMoreDeaths #EndImmigrationDetention

Wish Alpha a happy 2nd birthday and fight so it’s his last behind prison walls

Alpha Ochigbo was born in the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre on August 25th, 2013. Alpha has not seen a single day of freedom. Tomorrow, he will celebrate his second birthday in detention.

His mother Glory Anawa’s has been imprisoned in immigration jails in Ontario since February 2013 without charge or trial. Canada cannot deport her but will not release her.

We are asking friends and supporters to send birthday wishes and love to Alpha across the prison walls and let him and Glory know that we will fight so we can celebrate his next birthday on the outside.

150824_Alpha Birthday

Download the printable postcard to print and sign then mail it to:

Glory Ochigbo, Room 111
385 Rexdale Blvd
Toronto, ON
M8W 1R9

We will ensure Alpha receives a card tomorrow but even if your card arrives late it will provide warmth and love to Glory and Alpha during this poignant time.

To hear more about Alpha and Glory’s story watch this short video.

Solidarity Fast to Mark the Death of Another Man in Immigration Detention Custody


One week ago, a 39 year old Somali man died after being denied medical care for his diabetes and being ‘restrained’ by border guards and prison officials. He had been imprisoned for over three years without trial or charges.

On June 19, his friends, nearly 50 men people imprisoned similarly without charges or trial are taking part in a one-day solidarity and commemoration fast.

Join them. Fast on Friday, June 19th. Remember the dead. Honor the struggles of the living. More actions to be announced soon.

Join the event on Facebook

Visit for the latest


Wednesday May 6th
Ontario Court of Appeals (130 Queen st W, Toronto) 647-740-6446

Pack the courthouse on the morning of Wednesday May 6th at 10:30am at the Ontario Court of Appeals (130 Queen st W) for an important legal fight to end part of the injustice of immigration detention.

A group of detainees indefinitely imprisoned in Ontario filed an application in the Ontario Courts called a habeas corpus last December, challenging Canada to prove that their long term detention is justified. Michael Mvogo, one of the applicants has been jailed for nearly 10 years. Glory Anawa, another one of the applicants, has been imprisoned for nearly two years. Her son, Alpha, was born in an immigration jail and has spent his entire life in prison. The Ontario Superior court recently declined to hear the application. On May 6th, lawyers for the detainees are appealing the decision insisting that the Ontario courts must assert jurisdiction.

While we urge our supporters to pack the courts, we know that justice is rarely granted in them. Our struggles will not be legitimized by the same system that continues to actively criminalize and displace indigenous, racialized, dis/abled, queer, trans and poor people. However, winning this appeal could eventually mean freedom for detainees, and an end to indefinite immigration detention.

As you know, hundreds of migrants jailed indefinitely without trial or charge, have been waging a courageous struggle against immigration detentions and deportation in a max-security prison in Lindsay, Ontario since September 2013. These migrants, most of whom are Black men, have gone on hunger strike, boycotted their detention reviews, refused to enter their cells and organized despite the violence and alienation of prisons.

To support their struggle, the End Immigration Detention Network has organized rallies and petitions, gone to the United Nations, uncovered deep discrepancies in the detention review process and in December of last year launched a legal court challenge in Ontario’s provincial courts. In the months to come, we will also be turning our attention to the Ontario government that gets paid millions of dollars each year to support Harper’s anti-immigrant agenda, and imprison migrants without trial or charge.

So come out, show your support on Wednesday May 6th as we continue to fight for an end to immigration detention!

Email us at to let us know your coming and we’ll be in touch closer to the date to confirm what time we’ll meet at.