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March through Chinatown links Chinese Exclusion and new Refugee Bill C-31

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For Immediate Release

March through Chinatown links Chinese Exclusion and new Refugee Bill C-31

Toronto -- Refugee and Immigrant Rights group No One Is Illegal - Toronto will be marching through Toronto\'s historic Chinatown on May 1 with hundred of others as part of Toronto\'s May Day celebrations, at approximately 5:45pm, to protest Bill C-31, a new immigration Bill currently being discussed in Parliament which would exclude refugees.

The march starts with a rally at 4pm at Nathan Phillips Square and activists will be dropping a massive 25 feet banner as the march starts at 5pm.

\"Many in the Chinese community in Toronto remember the discriminatory Chinese Head Tax laws that made it impossible for our community to live freely and for families to be reunited,\" says Florence Li, interim executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter.\" Bill C-31 is the same kind of a law, just this time, it applies to all refugees, essentially making it impossible for thousands of people to get immigration status.\"

“The Refugee Exclusion Act creates a discriminatory two-tier refugee protection system based on nationality, mandates jail time for many asylum seekers, and revokes permanent residency from many people already granted refugee status,” says Tings Chak from No One Is Illegal - Toronto.

\"It seems that Canada has a history of passing exclusionary laws and then issuing apologies. Whether it is residential schools for Indigenous people or the Chinese Exclusion Act or refusing entry of Indo-Canadians on the Komagata Maru or barring Jewish people on board the St. Louis from entering Canada, we see the same pattern,\" added Li. \"It\'s time to save the apology and just not pass this law.\"

Chak agrees. “These kinds of laws, \'jail first, ask questions later\' were already passed in Australia and have been shown to not work, there is no reason to pass C-31 in Canada.\"

Dubbed the Refugee Exclusion Act, Bill C31 is opposed by hundreds of grassroots organizations, including No One Is Illegal, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Grassroots individuals and groups, including Roma, Latin-American, and LGBT refugee groups across Canada have also mobilized against the Bill.

For more information:
Tings Chak, 416 276 2174, No One Is Illegal Toronto, nooneisillegal@riseup.net

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