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Toronto Police Enforcing Immigration Laws

On February 15th 2006, after deputations, the Toronto Police Services Board passed a limited “Don’t Ask” policy which states that “victims and witnesses” of a crime shall not be asked their immigration status, unless there are bona fide reasons to do so.

However, the Board continued to drag their feet and refused to implement the policy. On March 22, 2007, after another year of community mobilization and pressure, the Toronto Police Services Board and Chief Bill Blair were forced to implement the policy and agreed to stop asking questions related to immigration status.

We continue to hear repeated notices of Toronto Police doing Immigration Enforcement's dirty work and are organizing to stop police brutality against undocumented communities. To join this work, or to report instances where Toronto Police have inquired about immigration status, please email

The collusion of immigration enforcement and policing must end

Calls for police accountability and community control over policing, and connected demands to stop prison expansion and prison abolition often tie together municipal, provincial and federal security apparatuses, but one branch of federal policing often gets off scot-free: Immigration Enforcement.

Immigration Enforcement (officially known as the Canada Border Services Agency or CBSA) is a daily brutal reality for the 500,000 people living without status in Canada. Cruising through the streets in unmarked cars, or raiding entire apartment buildings at 5 a.m. on Saturday mornings, Immigration Enforcement is an armed policing unit that terrorizes people as they work, as they access healthcare, as they try to sleep. With the ability to issue warrants, enter places where people live or gather, and to carry out arrests, Immigration Enforcement is a police force that must be made accountable to communities.

Daniel Garcia Deported. We Continue.

At 8:30am this morning, Daniel Garcia unwillingly boarded a plane to Mexico City. The new year begins with a hole in the Parkdale community and in our hearts.

With over 1600 petitions signed, Christmas Day meetings of 50 people, New Year's Eve rallies of 150 people, some believed that perhaps the Tories would listen to the 'public' that they always invoke. With politicians, church groups, teachers unions, the Toronto District School Board, and especially Daniel's teachers and fellow students all condemning the deportation and calling for his release and with headlines in every newspaper and TV station across the country telling his 'special' story, some thought that perhaps Jason Kenney would intervene and grant Daniel Garcia a temporary resident permit. He didn't.

Yet again, the Conservative government of the day (like all governments) has shown that it is committed to a single project - one of exclusion, exploitation and ongoing violence.

Police Services: Safe Access for All. A Report by the Immigration Legal Committee

Police Services: Safe Access for All
A Report by the Immigration Legal Committee

Executive Summary
(full report attached)


The Immigration Legal Committee is a group of law students, legal professionals, and lawyers that advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees, particularly those without status. It is a joint project of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Immigrant Rights Working Group, No One Is Illegal (Toronto), and the Ontario Law Union.

Board rejects `don't tell' policy

Fri Nov 21 2008
Robyn Doolittle
Staff Reporter

The Toronto Police Services Board has voted to reject a controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy for victims and witnesses of crime who are not legally in the country. It's a move that social advocates say is endangering women's lives.

"These matters are never easy and (decisions) cannot be made lightly," board chair Alok Mukherjee said in introducing his recommendation to keep the current policy.

In May 2006, the board approved the Victims and Witnesses Without Legal Status Policy, or "don't ask" as it has come to be known. This was designed to ensure that undocumented individuals were able to contact police, without fear of deportation, while at the same time not putting officers in legal grey area of not reporting a potential crime.


20 November 2008 - Immigrants, racialised communities and precarious and non-status people suffered a severe setback today as the Toronto Police Services Board unilaterally and without consultation voted to continue reporting Immigration Status to Border Enforcement. A consultation had been promised on 22 March 2007 but the committee looking into the issue was quietly disbanded today without community present.

Toronto Police authorized a Don't Ask policy in 2006 under community pressure and public scrutiny. The Don't Ask policy directs police officers to refrain from enquiring about immigration status of victims and witnesses of crimes unless there is a "bonafide reason to do so". This policy has yet to be fully and effectively implemented.

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