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URGENT: Migrant workers detained in Toronto area

posted by dawn Geography: Ontario Branford

April 6, 2009

URGENT: Migrant workers detained in Toronto area


Dear friends and supporters,

This is an URGENT NATIONAL ALERT being sent out by our allies in No One Is Illegal Toronto.

Approximately 100 (exact figures unconfirmed) migrant and
non-status workers have been detained in large-scale workplace enforcement
actions in Ontario, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area district.

There has been minimal media reporting on these huge-scale operations, a
local report on one of the raids in Bradford is available


April 4, 2009 - Executing massive and unprecedented US-style raids in East
Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford/Simcoe County, the Canada Border
Services Agency has arrested and detained over 100 migrant workers across
Southern Ontario, who are now languishing in detention centres.

Hundreds of families and friends are wondering right now why their loved
ones have not returned from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status
people across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Kanada.

On early Thursday morning, enforcement officers stormed into three
different businesses in Bradford and Markham where they arrested migrant
workers. CBSA even followed workers to their homes throughout the GTA and
surrounding areas. In total 80 people were arrested. They were placed on
GO buses, handcuffed and held immobile for hours.

"One of my relatives was arrested in the raid. She called me from jail
this morning. She and her co-workers are terrified that they may be
deported at any time," said Jonathan Canchela, chair of the Filipino
Migrant Workers Movement- and member of Migrante-Ontario.

On the same day in Leamington, eight agricultural workers were arrested.
The workers were traveling to the farm where they work with a contractor
when they were pulled over and arrested.

Simultaneously over a dozen agricultural workers were arrested in East
Toronto on the Danforth, some from their homes.

"In this economic crisis, companies are hiring us to save money. In my
case, I've no work permit. I need to send money for my children to go to
school. That is why I have to work. There are so many like me in this
country, more than a million. Why not a regularization program so we can
pay taxes. Many of us are skilled and qualified and could help the country
at the same time as we send the money back home", says Henry, who was
arrested on Thursday and is presently in the Detention Centre.

Following the large workplace raids in June 2008, these coordinated
attacks and arrests show Harper and Immigration Minister Kenney's
intention to terrorize those they consider the weakest - Tamil,
Vietnamese, Laotian, Mexican, Caribbean, Thai, Filipino and Chinese
workers simply trying to survive. In the middle of this recession, the
Tory government is spending money and energy on arresting people, piling
them into detention centers and buying their plane tickets, instead of
supporting social services for those in need.

Detention Reviews are taking place in Toronto at various locations
including the Heritage Detention Centre on Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds
of us will be outside the Heritage Inn on Sunday at 11am to show our
disgust and anger - we are not disposable workers to be used and tossed
away at Harper's whims. We refuse to be brutalized and silenced! Condemn
Harper and tell the CBSA that migrant communities will not tolerate these

No One Is Illegal-Toronto
Migrante ON
Justicia for Migrant Workers
PCLS Workers Rights Division
Law Union of Onatario
Caregivers Community Support Centre

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Migrant Workers

It never ceases to amaze me that you should think anything goes and there should be no boundaries. And yet I bet your the first to put up your own boundaries without any hesitation or explanation. You're wrong it is absolutely illegal and as a Canadian I want to know who is coming into my country. It seems to me your just looking out for yourself. Your idea of the respecting Canada is self serving (maybe even a Canadian or convenience if you're even Canadian at all). You're probably one of those self serving hypocrites you run into too often.

You're the real problem here.