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Posted by c.smallz on Dec 12, 2007
Yes. It does suck. But unfortunately it is a daily occurrence for thousands of people worldwide (and especially in Canada). If folks want more information on organizing against racist immigration/refugee determination policies you can check out: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org

Duffy - thanks for bringing this article to the shack!



Posted by Nerhael on Dec 12, 2007
Sorry, gonna have to ask, but what are the racist immigration/refugee determination policies? That site doesn't really seem to summarize those.

I'm just figuring that most people affected by these are largely going to be of another race, so wondering what about their particular cases makes it of a racist nature. The site seems to focus more on individual cases from what I could see.

Posted by c.smallz on Dec 12, 2007
Skimming a site is different from reading through it. But it is fair to say that organizations with no budget for web design may not be the most user friendly.

Here is what i think in a nutshell answers your question:

Immigration System:
Canada has a history of racist immigration policy that I think is rooted in the colonial nature of the occupation of indigenous land but is codified in attempting to exclude people of colour from entering the country - if these people are allowed to enter it is during time when their labour is required and the government has consistently sought to undermine those worker's ability to obtain equal status/rights in this country.

Some historic/contemporary examples:
1900s-1920s - "CONTINUOUS JOURNEY ACT" - which was a law that was passed to prevent emigration from the Indian Subcontinent to Canada. Because Indian was a part of the British Commonwealth - all British subjects (particularly those who served in wars on behalf of Britain) were allowed to immigrate to any of the other commonwealth countries. Canada sought to prevent the migration of people from India because it maintained (up until the 1940s) as strong "whites only policy of immigration". Not wanting to piss off the British - by excluding some subjects from the laws of the Empire - Canada instead passed the CONTINUOUS JOURNEY ACT that barred any person from migrating to Canada if they could not reach Canada in 1 continuous journey. Because only those who were traveling from Europe could actually reach Canada in 1 continuous journey - the government was able to get around this law. This all came to head in 1908 when the Kamagatu Maru sought to land with Sikh migrants aboard - the Canadian government forced the boat to remain docked (and did not allow any of the people onshore) and eventually turned it away.

1923 - Canada passes the CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT - a law that essentially is a slap in the fact to the thousands of Chinese migrants who worked and died to build the railway that connects Canada's west to it's east. This act remains enforced and in power until 1947. This was on top of a head tax that was used to force Chinese males (to pay per person that was migrated to Canada). No such law applied to Europeans.

1940s - JEWISH EXCLUSION - during WWII - Canada and the United States received dozens of boats of Jewish migrants seeking refuge from the Nazis. Canada's official policy at the time was that they could not take the migrants. One famous Canadian politician quipped at the time, that "1 Jew is 1 too many" - people were ultimately turned away, sent back to the fate of concentration camps or forced to settle illegally on occupied Palestinian land.

1945-1963 - ANTI COMMUNIST EXCLUSION - following WWII many eastern Europeans/Russians fleeing the hardships of post-war conditions were barred from entering Canada if they were suspected of "communist" leanings. In both Canada and the United States this became rampant and "McCarthyism" was alive and well in Canada as it was in the United States, where migrants like Emma Goldman were deported because of their social, political and ethnic backgrounds.

1960s - When white's only/Eurocentric policies of Canada's immigration come under fire by the United Nations and by the courts, Canada responds by creating the POINT SYSTEM. The point system currently is in place to day and essentially codifies points for those who would have qualified more readily under the old Eurocentric system. The POINT SYSTEM does allow more people from a greater number of countries into Canada, however, it is highly exclusive and difficult to negotiate. For instance in the country of Britain there are over 5 offices where people can apply for immigration purposes (visas/permanent residence) to come to Canada. On the entire African continent there are 5 (Nigeria (2), Egypt, South Africa, Kenya). The POINT SYSTEM gives points to people based on language skills, academic achievement and specifically on wealth. One must have over $10,000 in their bank account just to apply as an individual. It rises exponentially for a family to apply.

1970s - PRESENT - Temporary Work Permits/Farm Workers - Live in Caregivers - currently we have systems of temporary work permits that are used to obtain cheap and exploitable labour in Canada without the need to extend basic rights to those who work. Two examples of such programs include: Farm Workers program - started in the late 1960s - it is a deal between the Canadian-Jamaican-Mexican government to hire temp farm workers to work the fields in Canada. These workers tend to work in either 4-8 month intervals and must reapply annually. They are sent to work for Canadian farmers - usually living in really bad conditions (20-30 per "dorm" - normally an offshoot of a barn/farm house) - and work extremely long shifts for wages that are well under the minimum wage. While these workers pay CPP & EI and may work in the country for 20-30 consecutive years they are barred from ever applying for permanent status or making a claim to CPP or EI. Live-In Caregivers are generally university educated women from the Philippines (over 95%) with the remainder coming mostly from the Caribbean. They must work for 2 years with the same employer and must live with that employer. Their shifts can generally be 24 hours/on-call every day and their wages are also below the minimum wage. If they are the victims of abuse, non-payment of wages, sexual harrassment/abuse, they have little recourse and can face deportation by reporting their employer or leaving or demanding better wages. These types of programs are currently being proposed by the Conservative government to deal with the over 500,000 people living in Canada without full immigration documentation.

2001 - SECURITY CERTIFICATES - used to detain and deport migrants on the grounds of "national security". The basic rights to a fair and transparent trial are thrown out the door in favour of a green light for CSIS to arbitrarily detain individuals (mostly muslim and arab people) on the grounds of national security. This law has been ruled unconstitutional by the Canadian Supreme Court and the government was ordered to revise the law. The conservative government will submit a new law to parliament this week -which is expected to have much the same provisions as was deemed unconstitutional by the Courts. Regardless, 3 of 5 main detained under these certificates remain in prison in Kingston - with no charges, no idea of what "evidence" CSIS has against them, etc.

REFUGEE SYSTEM

2001 - IRPA (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) - was developed by the Liberal government in the late 1990s. It made significant changes to the refugee determination system. Under the new system - there is only 1 MEMBER - who determines the merits of a refugee claim. This MEMBER does not have to be a lawyer, someone who understands country situations, a former refugee or any other criteria that would make them competent for the job. Instead this person is a political apointee. In most instances, someone who has helped support the current prime minister's election campaign. Many of the stories on the website I posted relate to how the refugee determination system is inherently biased and fails many people - they are not to stand alone and that was my point in the first post.

Regardless you are probably saying -yeah but if you lose your refugee case you can appeal.

Sounds logical.

But under the IRPA - while legislation makes room for the creation and implementation of a Refugee Appeals Division - this section of the act has never been implemented and recently the Tory government stated it would not pursue this.

This leaves people's lives and fates - such as the football player in the article (but in Canada) in the fate of one person. This person may have racist beliefs, be homophobic, or just plain incompetent - all of these situations are highlighted in the cases on the website.

So these are some of the ways that I SUBMIT that Canada's immigration system is racist.

Here are some other important factors:

1. There are over 500,000 people (over 100,000 in Toronto) working and living in Canada without full immigration status.
2. The vast majority of these people are people of colour, migrants from the global south.
3. The refugee determination system is inadequate and does not meet the needs of people applying - these people rather than face persecution, economic deprivation or death decide not to show up for deportation and live without full rights.
4. Canada has a number of industries that rely on the cheap and exploitable labour of undocumented migrants (Construction, Hotels, Restaurants, Delivery Services, Live-In Caregivers, Farm Workers) - so much so that many in the Construction Companies have actually supported some form of amnesty. Over 15,000 undocumented workers are employed in Canada's construction industry.
5. Many undocumented migrants fear that by accessing services that they are legally entitled to - they will face detention and deportation. This causes people not to register their kids in school, access food banks, get emergency health care (from community health centres that don't require OHIP), etc.

So this is just a brief summary of why the immigration system is racist (as well as classist).

This information is all available on the website I listed with a little more searching. I hope this answers your question and I am more than happy to provide any supplementals that are needed to further prove my argument.





Posted by phduffy on Dec 14, 2007
c.smallz, what are your thoughts on live-in nannies?

No, THIS is outrageous.
Posted by Katie on Dec 14, 2007
There's been a lot of ball talk going on in my office over the last few weeks, so this article is particularly funny / scary to me.

However gentlemen, this one's for you.

http://wweek.com/wwire/?p=10223

Information on Live-In Nannies
Posted by c.smallz on Dec 18, 2007
hey duffy,

for more info on live-in caregivers check out this organization made up of live-in caregivers and their families. there are definitely articles here that can express issues better than I could:

http://siklabontario.blogspot.com/