Breaking: Immigrants in three prisons begin coordinated ‘Detention Review’ boycott

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June 2, 2014: Over 100 immigrants started a historical month-long boycott of their detention reviews this morning, insisting the process is biased, unfair and stacked against them. The boycott was coordinated between detainees caged in three separate maximum security prisons across Ontario – the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene and Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre.

Detention Reviews (DR) are the primary means through which border authorities insist that the entire immigration system is fair. They are a unique bail-like process that takes places 48 hours, 7 days, and then every 30 days after arrest. Detainees plead their case in front of an appointed ‘member’ who single-handedly decides on their release or terms and conditions. By refusing to participate, detainees are courageously insisting that the very fabric of the immigration detention system is unjust.

Every time I go there it’s like they have already made up their minds before we even start the session. It doesn’t matter what I say, I am there only for a few minutes before they state that I a flight risk and to come back in 30 days. I’ve been in front of them 12 times and nothing is changing and I am tired of it.” — A.K., jailed at Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay.

They pretend like I just came from the airport yesterday but I’ve been in this country for 23 years and that’s not right to treat someone like that. I don’t have a country to go back to, and I grew up here and they’re holding me because I don’t have any money to get out.” — S.M., jailed at Central East Correctional Centre.

This action is part of the ongoing #MigrantStrike that started in September 2013, when 191 detainees began a non-cooperation protest. They went on hunger strike, 2 of them for over 60 days, boycotted their detention reviews, and refused to enter their cells. In retaliation, immigration enforcement has deported some key strike organizers, released a few, moved others into prisons across Ontario, and locked up hunger strikers in segregation. Yet, strike actions are continuing.

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Frequently asked questions here. Background on immigration detention here.

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May Day Rally to End Immigration Detention

Text from http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/MayDay2014

“On May 1st, International Workers Day, we will march to reclaim May Day for just people’s struggles and to Honour Our Communities. We are unified in our fight against poverty and capitalism. We oppose attacks on rights and income of workers, irrespective of status. We demand an end to immigration detention because no one is illegal. We will continue our support for Indigenous peoples’ movements for self-determination. We oppose colonialism. We are in solidarity with struggles against Canadian imperialism. We insist on an end to environmental destruction. We resist patriarchy, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia both in our day-to-day work and as larger systems of oppression. Join Us!”

Coverage in NOW Toronto:

Photo from NOW Toronto: End Immigration Detention
Photo from NOW Toronto: End Immigration Detention

Video: Enough is Enough! Rally to End Immigration Detention and Enforcement

On Feb 28th, four actions in four cities were organized across the country to demand an end to immigration enforcement and detention. In Toronto, we banged on the doors of Greater Toronto Enforcement Center, the largest immigration enforcement site in Canada responsible for immigration detention and over 40 deportations a day. We commemorated all of the migrants who have died in detention, died by suicide in the face of deportation, and fight alongside all of families who have been separated by immigration, who are living in sanctuary, and the hundreds of migrants detained indefinitely.

With the support of over 10,000 people who have signed our petitions, we made our voices heard: Enough is Enough! Migrant Dignity not Migrant Death! End Immigration Detention!

JOIN US: www.endimmigrationdetention.com
SIGN THE PETITION: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/harper-end-indefinite-immigration-detention

Toronto Star: Immigration Advocates Plan Day of Action in Four Cities to Demand Accountable Border Enforcement

Family Day ‘Projection Bomb’ on Immigration and Refuge Board Building in Toronto and Guelph Banner Drop

Families of those held unjustly in immigration detention didn’t get to celebrate ‘Family Day’ yesterday. In support of these families and those in detention, we projected a massive image on to the border control offices at 74 Victoria Street where decisions to detain and deport migrants are made every day.

Make sure to join us on Feb 28 Rally at Canada Border Services Agency Headquarters and read the letter that inspired this action.

Scroll below for Banner Drop in Guelph.

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Behind-the-scenes setting up the projection bomb.
Behind-the-scenes setting up the projection bomb.
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Family Day Banner Drop in Guelph

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.

SIGN THE PETITION
RALLY ON FEB 28th  AT BORDER AGENCY HQ
Share this statement on facebook

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

MIGRANT DIGNITY NOT MIGRANT DEATH: END IMMIGRATION DETENTION RALLY

Feb 28 Rally posterFebruary 28, 2014
Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre, Border Agency HQ, 6900 Airport Road
1:45pm. Buses leave Bloor & St George at 12:30pm, Kipling Station Parking at 1pm

February 28th marks the two-month anniversary of Lucia Vega Jimenez’s attempted suicide while in immigration enforcement custody awaiting deportation. She died 8 days later. February also marks the five-month anniversary of the historic migrant strike in Lindsay ON against endless detentions, maximum security incarceration and a broken detention review system.

Get on the bus! Confirm your seat: http://bit.ly/1kFzQys. If you are coming from Guelph please contact fuerza.puwersa@gmail.com for a ride.

Sign the petition to support an end to indefinite immigration detention: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/harper-end-indefinite-immigration-detention

Sign the petition to support an independent civilian inquiry into Lucia Vega Jimenez’s death: http://chn.ge/1kavtbV

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is shrouded in secrecy and for too long they have operated with impunity. On February 28th we will be at the Greater Toronto Enforcement Center, the largest immigration enforcement site in Canada responsible for immigration detention and over 40 deportations a day We will stand outside those doors and hold the CBSA accountable for the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez and everyone else who has died or suffered at the hands of border enforcement.

MIGRANT STRIKE: On September 17th nearly 200 migrant detainees in the Central East Correctional Centre, Lindsay ON began protest actions which captured widespread attention. Detainees have gone on hunger strike (some of them for 65 days), refused to enter their cells, boycotted their detention reviews, and organized other political actions. In retaliation, immigration enforcement deported some key strike organizers, moved others into prisons across Ontario, and locked up hunger strikers in segregation. Yet the strike continues. On December 14th last year, three busloads of families and supporters of immigration detainees drove hours through snow squalls to support these migrants. On Feb 28, we are taking the fight to immigration enforcement’s doorsteps.

Since 2004, there have been 8,838-14,362 migrant detentions per year in Canada. Over a third of these, like Lucia and the ones in Lindsay, are held in maximum-security provincial prisons. Canada is one of the only ‘Western’ countries to indefinitely detain people; there is no so-called ‘presumptive period’ on how long a migrant can be jailed pending deportation. This means that some immigration detainees have been unjustly locked away for nearly ten years.

Lucia Vega Jimenez’s death is the latest in a series of suicides, deaths and discrimination at the hands of the CBSA and immigration policy. Just recently, Mohamed, Shyroz and Qyzra Walji killed themselves rather than be deported a day after meeting with enforcement officers. Mr De Souza, a Toronto resident for 25 years, passed away on January 18th and his family was denied City of Toronto funding for a subsidized funeral simply because Mr. De Souza was undocumented. The City asked Mr. De Souza’s family to declare the body abandoned. On Feb 10th 2014, Avery Edison, a British comedian, was denied entry at Pearson airport and was then detained in a male prison, potentially vulnerable to sexual assault and attacks due to her status as a transgender woman.

The CBSA locks people up then throws away the key. Canada’s immigration policies fracture families and communities and deny many the freedom to move and to live. This requires resistance and response. Join us on February 28th as we crank up the pressure. Bring your friends. Bring your rage.

For more information on the strike and detention of migrants in Canada, see

http://www.endimmigrationdetention.com
http://www.fb.com/EndImmigrationDetention
https://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=5854#more-5854
migrantstrike@gmail.com // nooneisillegal@riseup.net

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” Report Back from End Immigration Detention Rally at Lindsay Jail

Rally at Central East Correctional Centre

“Freedom! Freedom Freedom!” chanted the entire immigration wing at Lindsay prison, joining the chorus of song coming from the solidarity rally outside. Guards rushed to peer at us through the windows and were shocked to find almost two hundred protesters gathered across the fence in the bitter cold.

Three busloads of families and supporters of immigration detainees drove hours through snow squalls and were joined by many more residents of the Lindsay and Peterborough area to protest immigration detention. Many of the immigration detainees were on their third day of a ‘hunger-fast’ to coincide with the rally outside and to demand an end to indefinite detention and maximum security holds, an overhaul of the adjudication process, and the implementation of a 90-day limit to detention pending deportation as per international conventions.

“Jailing migrants for no crime but that of being born elsewhere is unjust, and indefensible!” says End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN) member Tings Chak, at the rally in Christie Pits Park before leaving for Lindsay. “Jailing people indefinitely, with no end in sight is utterly inhumane.”On September 17th, nearly 200 migrant detainees in Lindsay jail began protest actions which have captured widespread attention. Detainees have gone on hunger strike (2 of them for 65 days), refused to enter their cells, boycotted their detention reviews, and organized other political actions. In retaliation, immigration enforcement has deported some key strike organizers, moved others into prisons across Ontario, and locked up hunger strikers in segregation. Yet, strike actions are continuing. Continue reading