16 February 2011
3 - 5pm
519 Community Centre (at 519 Church Street, north of Wellesley)
In a stunning move, the Canadian Border Services Agency issued a national policy late Friday afternoon ordering its officers to enter and wait outside anti-violence against women spaces to detain and deport women survivors of violence. Immigration Enforcement has also been given instructions to follow women survivors of violence on their way to and from spaces where they may seek support.
In passing this policy, Immigration Enforcement has declared that it supports abusers, and is willing to deport women to places of grave danger. This new policy forces survivors of abuse and violence to live with the added fear of deportation. Immigration Enforcement is sending a clear message to women survivors of violence that for undocumented women, no space is safe from the violence of deportation.
This policy is a major reversal of the victories won by grassroots organizing and must be opposed. Over the last two years, migrant women and anti-racist organizers with the Shelter | Sanctuary | Status Campaign, through rallies, protests, press conferences, delegations and actions, forced the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre to pass a policy in October 2010 that it would not enter, or wait outside any space serving survivors of violence to arrest undocumented women. The policy also stated that immigration enforcement would not call these spaces to verify the identity of women in these spaces.
By changing their policy secretively, the Canadian Border Services Agency has chosen to go around the democratic voices of women and trans-people, instead enforcing an abusive policy. This is a clear act of aggression and disrespect towards women fighting against violence.
The Shelter | Sanctuary | Status Campaign of No One Is Illegal - Toronto is calling an emergency meeting inviting shelter workers, rape counselors, trauma counselors, students and anti-racist feminists to
organize quickly and militantly against this clawback of our recent victory. We are also calling upon all shelter administrators and staff to refuse to allow immigration enforcement in, and contact us immediately if CBSA shows up.
Anti-violence against women spaces were created as a safe and supportive space for all women fleeing violence. We can’t allow CBSA to undermine our work and take these safe spaces away from women and trans-people. We need to reclaim these spaces as ours. The Shelter | Sanctuary | Status Campaign is calling upon all anti-racist feminists to fight together to ensure that the violence of deportation against women not be allowed to continue. Demand justice for undocumented women survivors of violence. Demand Status for All!
** Mainstream news: http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/02/11/17234471.html and http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Border+services+policy+women+shelters...
** How we pushed immigration enforcement out: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/node/503
** Resisting deportation of women fleeing violence (Farrah Miranda): http://www.rabble.ca/news/2010/12/resisting-deportation-women-fleeing-vi...