Montreal, 20 February 2018 – One year ago, the City of Montreal declared itself a Sanctuary City. But in reality nothing has changed.
Exactly one year after the adoption of a motion designating Montreal a "Sanctuary City," undocumented people in Montreal are still waiting for change. They still do not have access to declared work, education, health-care, housing, and protection against sexual violence. Moreover, the Montreal police (SPVM) – which reports directly to the City – continue to collaborate with border services. In 2016, the SPVM made 2872 calls to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). In 83% of the cases, these calls were to verify immigration status.(1) This practice continues to this day.
The Non Status Women's Collective demands a real Sanctuary City, with access to services and no collaboration between the SPVM and the CBSA.
The Non Status Women's Collective, wearing masks, put in an appearance at City Hall in October 2017, calling on former Mayor Denis Coderre to fulfill his promise (http://bit.ly/2Cy0epz). Now they are turning to the new Mayor, Valerie Plante, whose election was broadly welcomed by feminists who support the struggle of undocumented women for dignity and justice.
Their message to Valérie Plante:
"Since 2015, we, women and mothers who live and work in the shadows, invisible and excluded, have spoken out publicly together. We are women from different countries, who organize together and meet to offer each other mutual aid to confront our precarious situation. We work hard, we are responsible women; some of us are alone, others have families and children. We participate in the society and economy of this country but receive no economic or social assistance from the government! We have tried endlessly to regularize our status, applying for papers but we have only received negative responses. Our applications are decided by immigration officers who accept some and not others, though we all live in the same precarity: this is why we are demanding status for all. We live in fear, in great precarity that makes us particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. We are asking you for a meeting to listen to us and to discuss solutions for a real sanctuary city in Montreal."
Non Status Women's Collective of Montreal
(1) These figures come from an access to information request, available on request.
The Non-Status Women's Collective of Montreal formed in October 2015, on the initiative of undocumented women from diverse backgrounds who wanted to unite, support each other, and work together for change. www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/non-status-women