Tuesday, October 06, 2009


A statement by No One Is Illegal - Toronto
October 2009

Some believe that the Canadian immigration system is fair and generous. It
isn't. And Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney are swiftly making it even

They are underhandedly taking apart the so-called 'objective' points-based
system. They are moving quickly to get rid of its 'humanitarian' part, the
refugee process. In its place, they are setting up temporary work programs
that are designed to push most migrants in to vulnerable, precarious and
temporary jobs without access to services or the ability to unionize.

In 2008, for the first time, more people arrived on exploitative temporary
work programs than people with some access to permanent residency!

Major changes have been sneaked through a budget bill and other seemingly
disconnected regulation announcements. Bill C-50 and Bill C-45 gave powers
to immigration minister and officers to arbitrarily decide who can come in
to Canada and who cannot. The family reunification program has been
modified to actually deter reunification. Visas have been imposed on Czech
Romas and Mexicans. Deportations have increased with moratoriums on return
lifted for many countries. Only people in 38 professions can now immigrate
to Canada - everyone else is banned. A new clause within the Temporary
Foreign Worker manual means that migrants are permanently temporary, they
can stay indefinitely in Canada without having to leave to renew their
work permit but are unable to apply for permanent residency.

Kenney is bent on breaking the already dysfunctional refugee system.
Refugee acceptance rates have dropped each year, halved in the last two
decades. Now the Harper government is 'revising' this system. For the
first time, Canada could fast-track rejections of refugee claimants from
'safe' countries. These 'safe' countries are mostly those which Canada has
trade relations with. The proposed changes follow a months-long, carefully
orchestrated xenophobic campaign, led by Kenney.

Even those granted citizenship are seemingly never fully recognized as
Canadian. They are excluded and ignored in and by Canada. Maher Arar,
Maher Arar,
Abousfian Abderazik and Suaad Haji Mohamud are three of the many citizens in
whose torture and abuse Canada is complicit.

Canada champions itself as a beacon of progressive immigration and
settlement policy as it moves towards a temporary immigration system. But,
migrants of color earn 40% less than their white counterparts. In Toronto,
the number of immigrants who are poor has grown by 125%, and almost 60% of
poor families are from racialized groups. Immigrant neighborhoods are
underserved and marginalized. Immigrant families have little access to
recognition of credentials or good jobs, or to services such as affordable

Many immigrants sacrifice themselves and their aspirations for the
betterment of their children. But often second and third-generation
immigrants remain in exploitative jobs, pushed out of schools and
universities, unable to fully access opportunities promised.

Even more than immigrants, temporary migrants like farm workers, live-in
caregivers, construction workers, others, face exploitative and precarious
work and living conditions. They pay taxes and build communities but are
unable to access the most basic services. Migrant workers are not allowed
to bring their families.

During the recession, attacks against migrants have greatly increased. In
the last year, immigration enforcement has carried out large workplace
raids and forcibly deported people. The enforcement arm of immigration
targets non-status people that it considers most vulnerable - women at
shelters and people at community gardens. These tactics push already
vulnerable undocumented people into situations where they face greater
risk and exploitation.

The changes to the Canadian immigration system are a violent continuation
of exclusion of migrants. The present Canadian immigration system, set up
by settlers on colonized land engages with migrants, mostly of color, only
to exploit their labor. As we fight against the recent and coming
regressive changes by Harper and his cronies, we must challenge the entire
exclusionary basis of the immigration systems themselves.

Join the fightback!
Sign up at
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subrequest/nooneisillegal for more.

Find out more yourself!

** About the refugee system:
http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=00220 and

** About Canadian mining companies and displacement:

** About poverty and racialization:

** About workplace raids:

** About Jason Kenney's lies:

** About temporary work programs: (2008)

** About changes to temporary work programs:
http://www.straight.com/article-237638/bill-targets-foreign-workers and

** About changes to the refugee act: