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Out to change 'regressive' immigration system

Posted in

October 01, 2008
Nicholas Keung
The Toronto Star

Weeks before this summer's Status for All rally in Toronto, Sultana Jahangir knocked on apartment doors in Crescent Town urging neighbours to march in solidarity with migrants and refugees.

This spring, after Ottawa tabled the controversial immigration reform bill, Faria Kamal handed out flyers and helped organize public forums in opposition to the changes.

And in January, when a failed refugee claimant, a quadriplegic, was due for deportation, Gurratan Singh Dhaliwal helped organize a protest in his Sikh community.

Jahangir is a Toronto community worker and mother; Kamal, a clinical psychology postgraduate student from Markham, and Dhaliwal, a Mississauga law student. All are part of a grassroots social movement spreading across the GTA and other Canadian cities to put immigrant and refugee issues high on the political agenda.

Out to change 'regressive' immigration system

Posted in

Chantal Persad, 18, right, of No One Is Illegal, hands out flyers during frosh week at the University of Toronto Sept. 5, 2008. Listening to her speak are Elaina Amaral, 18, left, and Alexis Cavaliere, 18Chantal Persad, 18, right, of No One Is Illegal, hands out flyers during frosh week at the University of Toronto Sept. 5, 2008. Listening to her speak are Elaina Amaral, 18, left, and Alexis Cavaliere, 18 (Photo: Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)Groups step up pressure on parties to put refugee and immigrant issues high on political agenda

October 01, 2008 - The Toronto Star
Nicholas Keung

Weeks before this summer's Status for All rally in Toronto, Sultana Jahangir knocked on apartment doors in Crescent Town urging neighbours to march in solidarity with migrants and refugees.

This spring, after Ottawa tabled the controversial immigration reform bill, Faria Kamal handed out flyers and helped organize public forums in opposition to the changes.

And in January, when a failed refugee claimant, a quadriplegic, was due for deportation, Gurratan Singh Dhaliwal helped organize a protest in his Sikh community.

Jahangir is a Toronto community worker and mother; Kamal, a clinical psychology postgraduate student from Markham, and Dhaliwal, a Mississauga law student. All are part of a grassroots social movement spreading across the GTA and other Canadian cities to put immigrant and refugee issues high on the political agenda.

Protest highlights plight of refugee claimants

Ottawa must stop deportation orders against women who fled violence, rally told
October 03, 2008 - The Toronto Star
LESLEY CIARULA TAYLOR
IMMIGRATION REPORTER

Twenty-three-year-old Ana, tall and sombre, marched with more than 100 others yesterday down the middle of Yonge St. to support Isabel Garcia, an asylum seeker who has gone underground in Toronto to avoid being deported. But she was marching for herself, too.

Ana's father paid 2 million pesos ransom for her and her brother after they were kidnapped in Mexico by "people involved with the police." After moving around the country three times to evade more violence, she was handed her passport and a plane ticket by her father and fled to Toronto two years ago. In August, the Immigration and Refugee Board turned down her refugee claim. She is appealing to Federal Court.

The single board officer hearing her case "asked me why my father couldn't do something" to protect her.

Coalition urges parties to support female refugees

ctvtoronto.ca

A women's advocacy coalition group held a rally and discussion panel Thursday urging federal party leaders to make violence against women an issue in the upcoming election.

The group "No one is illegal" is rallying in support of a woman who is in Canada illegally but wants to be accepted into the country as a refugee. The woman is afraid to return to her ex-husband in Mexico, the group says.

Meanwhile, a women's coalition group spoke to reporters earlier in the day about asking federal parties to speak out on how they would use Canada's immigration system to help protect women.

"The state, we feel, has a responsibility for women's human rights," said Shanaaz Gokool with Amnesty International. "They must respect, protect and fulfill. The state has a responsibility, whether abuses are committed by the state or non-state actors."

They say they've heard from the NDP and Green parties but have yet to hear from the Conservatives or the Liberals.

Stop deporting women escaping violence, activists say

October 02, 2008 - The Toronto Star
LESLEY CIARULA TAYLOR
IMMIGRATION REPORTER

Refugee and women's activists are calling for an immediate stay on deportation orders against immigrant women trying to stay in Canada as a sanctuary against violence.

Amnesty International and the YWCA joined the immigrant rights group No One Is Illegal today to demand the four federal parties take a stand on an immigration system that they say doesn't live up to Canada's own policies of human rights protection.

"Canada was one of the first countries to recognize" violence against women as grounds for a refugee claim, said the YWCA's Ann Dector. "We honour that on paper but not in practice."

One arm of the Immigration and Refugee Board has guidelines about women asking for refugee status because of domestic violence, but not all parts of the system follow that, said Dector.

Students protest deportation of peer and his family

Posted in

Julie Slack
October 1, 2008

More than 50 University of Toronto Mississauga students were among a large group protesting the deportation of a city student and his parents Sept. 30 in Toronto.

Bangladeshi immigrant Badrul and Shammi Alam and their son, Saad, lost their bid for refugee status in 2004. They had launched two appeals, one based on compassionate grounds, the other on fear of persecution. Both were unsuccessful and the family's deportation has been set for this Friday.
Saad Alam, 23, is entering his third year toward a life sciences and psychology degree at U of T's St. George campus.

"It's not a fair decision but I understand we have to go back," said his father, whose appeal was based on the risk of harm because of his Jatiya Party connections in Bangladesh.

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