Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has reintroduced Bill C-4 (formerly Bill C-49), the so-called Preventing Human Smuggling Bill. Under this Bill, any group of migrants can be designated 'a smuggling incident'. Once they have been designated as such, migrants can be jailed for up to 12 months; are denied the ability apply for permanent resident status for five years after they have been granted refugee status; cannot apply on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, for a temporary resident permits or refugee travel documents for five years or longer; are banned from appealing an unfavorable decision and cannot sponsor their families five years. Bill C-4 also gives immigration officers powers to arrest and detain any foreign national or permanent resident on suspicions of criminal activity without proof.
On June 20, 2011, World Refugee Day, migrant justice activists from No One Is Illegal - Toronto hung a 40 feet by 10 feet banner off a major highway in downtown Toronto reading "Canada Jails Refugees".
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(1) Contact your MP and demand that this bill be scrapped. Find your MP: http://bit.ly/mfMkVq
(2) Take a minute to write letters to the editor, comment on online news stories & post on social media! Reinforce your support for migrants, demand that Bill C4 be scrapped. All letters must be short (100 words), include name, mailing address and daytime phone number of the writer; state “Letter to the Editor” in subject; and content should be in the body of the email. Globe and Mail: email@example.com; Toronto Star: firstname.lastname@example.org; National Post: email@example.com; 24 Hours: firstname.lastname@example.org; Now Toronto: email@example.com; Metro News: http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/contactus
(3) Let Jason Kenney know what you think about his racist anti-migrant bill. Call him 403-225-3480 or 613-992-2235; Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @kenneyjason
(4) Organize a rally, press conference, flash mob, or community meeting against this bill. Write a statement or public release expressing your opposition. Invite a speaker to your meeting. If you need, email us email@example.com for ideas and suggestions. See a partial list of organizations that oppose Bill C-4 at http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/node/506
(5) Download, post, share, and distribute these “I am a Human Smuggler” series by No One Is Illegal - Vancouver: http://bit.ly/lEiRTW
CANADA'S RECORD ON DETENTIONS & DEPORTATIONS
In 2008-09, Canada Border Services Agency jailed 14,362 people for immigration reasons at a cost of $45.7million. Under Bill C-4, with arbitrary powers of detention of any foreign national, these numbers could greatly increase. On Dec. 18, 1995, Mike Akhinen died from medical neglect at Celebrity Inn in Mississauga, Ont., Canada's infamous immigration detention centre. On Dec. 8, 2009, Jan Szamko, 31, died in Immigration detention of heart failure after being denied medical aid. See the abuse of the Canadian immigration detention system through a Toronto Star report on the Coroner's Inquest in to Jan Szamko's death: http://bit.ly/kuyq68. The Canada Border Services Agency has received temporary funding to remove an additional 4,200 failed refugee claimants over three years (2010-2012), this 14% increase in spending pushes Canada's detention and deportation budget to $1.84 billion. Read about police involvement in immigration enforcement here http://bit.ly/gqq9kR.
CANADA'S REFUGEE SYSTEM
A recent United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report indicates that the number of asylum applications to Canada has fallen 30 per cent. The number of refugees granted permanent residence dropped by 25% under Jason Kenney; in fact according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s own 2009 report, the number of refugees who had their asylum claims approved dropped by 56% in 2008 from 2005. In 2010, there were 8,466 Pre-Removal Risk Assessment applications made by asylum-seekers facing removal orders. Only 89 were approved. According to figures in the Canadian Press, deportations have skyrocketed 50% over the last decade. Under the current Refugee Act (Bill C-11), asylum seekers from countries deemed ‘safe’ receive differentiated treatment and do not have their claims assessed individually. Human Rights Watch Canada says the provision that allows this differentiated treatment "shortcut[s] fairness in the name of efficiency". Canada takes less refugees then most countries including Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sudan, , Azerbaijan, Germany, United States, China, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Pakistan. Under the current Refugee Act (Bill C-11), asylum seekers from countries deemed ‘safe’ receive differentiated treatment. Human Rights Watch Canada says that this provision "shortcut[s] fairness in the name of efficiency".
HUMAN SMUGGLING IS NOT A CRIME
Throughout the political jockeying and the manufactured media circus that surrounded the arrival of the Tamil migrants aboard the Ocean Lady and the MV Sun Sea, “human smuggling” has consistently been framed as an unquestioned evil, a practice that must be combated through anti-smuggling legislation and criminal punishment. We reject this presumption. Migration is one form of resistance to the displacement, destruction, and desperation that the forces of war, environmental havoc and global capitalism produce across the world. It is the creation, control, and policing of international/colonial borders that forces people to travel on foot, by air and by water, in the night, across torturous terrains, in dangerous conditions and using forged documents that must be resisted. At a time when Canada shuts down most avenues to full immigration status, denies most refugee claims, exploits poor and working people of colour as temporary workers and tries to detain and deport its undocumented residents - we insist that human smuggling is not a crime. Read full statement: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/node/507
** No One Is Illegal - Vancouver backgrounder on Bill C-4 **
** Canadian Council of Refugees Resource Page on Bill C 4 / c 49 **
** Backgounder on Canadian Immigration System**