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.

Continue reading

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.

Detainee Strike Organizer Amin Mjasiri Deported

“Are the actions undertaken by immigration canada unjust? I would go so far as to say their actions are inhuman, despicable and grossly hypocritical” Amin Mjasiri, on the phone from Kenya

On March 27, 2015, Amin Mjasiri, a migrant justice activist, father, and friend was forced to board a plane en route to Nairobi, Kenya after being jailed in immigration detention for 45 months. Amin Mjasiri is part of a movement of migrant detainees who began striking on September 17th, 2013 to protest against arbitrary detentions, bogus judicial review processes and imprisonment in maximum security jails.

Since September 2013, Amin has been a friend, a comrade and a key organizer inside Lindsay’s maximum security prison. Many of us on the outside have come to rely on him for strategies, ideas, and inspiration. His warmth and friendliness a daily reminder of survival and resiliency in the face of cruel border controls and prison sentences. We are hurt, and disappointed that Amin is not just on the other side of a glass window but thousands of miles away. At the same time, this targeting and deportation of Amin strengthens our resolve to continue until all these border walls fall.

We first came into contact with Amin in September 2013. In October, on the 26th day of his hunger strike, Mjasiri released this statement,

“The reason for my hunger-strike is indefinite detention, the uncertainty of the outcome of whether it is going to be deportation or release…Immigration is punishing me right now. Because to them they say this is not a punishment, then what am I doing in a maximum security for 28 months. 28 months of my life, you could not give that back to me. Even if you were going to deport me right now. You could not give that back to me.”

Amin’s imprisonment continued for a year and half after this statement. A total of 45 months of his life, that cannot be given back, were spent in detention while Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) forced the Government of Kenya to issue him travel documents.

Amin has been an outspoken organizer from the beginning of the End Immigration Detention Campaign and was the longest of the hunger strikers in 2013; striking in isolation for over a month. Lawyers for CBSA, in part, have used this strike and his activism as a reason not to release Amin over the last 18 months. In fact, the CBSA tried to deport him to a second country, which he has no relations to, rather than release him to his friends and family in Canada.

On Monday, March 23, 2015 Amin was given travel documents for a flight scheduled four days later. He was forced to leave behind his loved ones and return to Kenya, a country he has not lived in or even visited for over two decades, and which has not regarded him as a citizen.

Although no longer in Canada, he plans to continue to organize against immigration detention and deportation. So will we.

Read the full transcript from interviews with Amin during his hunger strike in 2013.