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News reports/stories on immigration

62 found dead in shipping container in Pakistan

Posted in

April 04, 2009
The Associated Press

QUETTA, Pakistan – At least 62 people suffocated to death in a truck container packed with illegal migrants, and dozens were rescued unconscious today after Pakistani police acting on a tip opened the container near the Afghan border.

Rasool Bakhsh, a senior police official in the city of Quetta, said the shipping container the truck was carrying entered Pakistan from Afghanistan and was headed for Iran. He said most of the victims were Afghans.

More than 100 people were packed inside the 12-metre-long metal container, Bakhsh said. Survivors were rushed to the hospital, many of them unconscious.

Khalid Masood, another senior officer, said a total of 62 of the migrants were pronounced dead.

Television footage shot shortly after the white container was opened showed dozens of bodies, many of them stripped to the waist, lined up on the road next to the truck.

Canada denies passport to 'blacklisted' citizen

Posted in

AbousfianPaul Koring - The Globe and Mail
April 3, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Conservative government reversed itself today and denied an emergency passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik, preventing the Canadian citizen - blacklisted as a terrorist - from flying home to Montreal.

In a terse explanation, it said Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon considers Mr. Abdelrazik a national security threat.

In a one-sentence letter, delivered this morning to Mr. Abdelrazik's lawyers, the justice department said “the minister of foreign affairs has decided to refuse your client's request for an emergency passport.” It cited Section 10.1 of the Canada Passport Order which says “the minister may refuse or revoke a passport if the minister is of the option that such action is necessary for the national security of Canada or another country.”

The refusal represents a complete reversal of the government's written promise of three months ago to issue Mr. Abdelrazik an emergency passport if he had a paid-for ticket home. Mr. Abdelrazik remains stranded in the lobby of the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, where he has living for nearly 11 months, granted “temporary safe haven” by former Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier.

Only a broom for support

Posted in

By Monisha Martins
Maple Ridge News
March 31, 2009

With his left arm wrapped in dirty cotton bandage, Réné Escamilla is the last prisoner to limp into the visitor’s area.

It is crowded with overturned tables, a hastily cleaned whiteboard and has a view of a small concrete-walled prison yard.

Réné hobbles slowly, breaking into a grin when he sees his wife.

Marta frowns as he lowers himself, carefully, into a chair.

“Why the beard?,” she asks in Spanish, her voice drowning in the cacophony of a crowded visitor’s room at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.

Sitting flush against a L-shaped wooden barrier, behind yellowed Plexiglas, the 34-year-old El Salvadorean with scruffy stubble on his chin asks Marta to hold up his baby.

Leylani, at the time just three months old, has the tiny hand and delicate, fragile face that’s typical of premature babies. She’s lost in her yellow woolly cardigan and pink blanket.

Internal report slams deportation review process

Posted in

The Canadian Press
Wed. Mar. 18 2009

OTTAWA — A federal program to prevent people from being shipped home to torture has quietly mushroomed into an inefficient new layer of the refugee-screening process, says an internal federal report.

The Immigration Department evaluation says there is a definite need for the pre-removal risk assessment program, noting more than 800 people have successfully avoided deportation from Canada due to risk of persecution.

However, the program is not the tool of last resort it was meant to be, says the report obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

"In effect, it has shifted from being a `safety-net' to become an additional step in the refugee status determination process."

Under the pre-removal risk assessment process, failed refugee claimants and others ordered out of the country who allege fear of harm in their home countries can apply to remain in Canada.

Migrant workers reap bitter harvest in Ontario

October 28, 2008
Evelyn Encalada Grez
The Toronto Star

I had to pick up Laura at the apple farm with two police officers. We left the farm in such haste that Laura's belongings were scattered in various plastic bags.

It was a rescue mission more reminiscent of a crime scene. She could not leave without lovingly saying goodbye to each of the women with whom she had shared that awful crammed bunkhouse.

When she was ready, she turned to me and said: "Let's go." We walked together, Laura on crutches and in much pain, tears flowing down her face, tears that quickly became contagious.

The tall, white, male police officers were shocked. They had no clue that migrant women lived and worked in their community, let alone what some had to go through to earn a living producing food that ended up on our kitchen tables. One of the officers said "apples are never going to taste the same again."

Family loses bid to stay in Canada

Sept. 22, 2008 - The Mississauga News

A Bangladeshi immigrant who writes for a Mississauga-based ethnic newspaper and owns a house in the city faces being deported along with his wife and university-aged son after a crackdown by the federal government on illegal immigration.

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.

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

While Alam says he understands why he and his wife must leave Canada, he was hoping his son could stay.

"We would only like the authorities to let my son finish his education," he said.

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