MIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND ALLIES STAGE FESTIVE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST DEPORTATIONS, FOR OPEN BORDERS AND A SOLIDARITY CITY PRESS CONFERENCE:
Sunday, June 18 2017 at 1:30 pm, Room 592 – 6767 chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges
DEMONSTRATION AND MARCH:
Sunday, June 18, 2:00 pm, departure from Nelson Mandela Park (rue Victoria between Barclay and Bouchette)
Montreal, Sunday, June 18 – Migrants, refugees and their allies will take the streets of Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood during this festive, musical, family-friendly march, to demand an end to deportations, detentions and double punishment, the immediate regularization for all people living without legal status, and the realization of a genuine Solidarity City in Montreal.The past months have seen the rise of an increasingly brazen anti-immigrant rhetoric, including a startling normalization of the far right, blatantly racist attacks on migrants and the explicit fortification of borders. In February, Montreal City Council declared itself a “sanctuary city,” falsely giving the impression that Montreal no longer cooperates with the Canadian Border Services Agency, and that undocumented Montrealers can access public services without fear of deportation. ”Such toothless, symbolic gestures do little to challenge border violence,and potentially do more harm by creating false expectations” says Graham Latham, a member of Solidarity Across Borders and one of the organizers of this year’s march.
In this context, the ongoing struggles of migrants and their allies have become more critical than ever, and are in fact building momentum. News headlines have recently been made by people like Marcia*, a blind, longtime non-status Montrealer struggling to access essential medical care; by members of Montreal’s Guinean community fighting against deportation; by the Education Without Borders Collective demanding access to free education for undocumented children; and by the Non-Status Women’s Collective, who continue their years-long campaign to demand status for themselves and their families. ”We need to fight against deportations because they could destroy everything we’ve built here,” says Barry Mohamed Diouldé, from the Guinean Committee for a Status for Everyone. ”We’ve been living here for years, working, being part of our community, and this is our home.”
Along the US-Canadian border, hundreds continue to cross irregularly in defiance of its violent logic. As the tragic death near Manitoba of 57-year-old asylum seeker Mavis Outeye illustrates, people the world over are compelled to take enormous risks in search of safety, peace or opportunity. ”We are calling for open borders, because punishing laws and fortified border controls only compound the dangers that migrants face,” adds Latham.
Hundreds of thousands more live undocumented here and across the country, forced into precarious and exploitative work, without access to healthcare, education, or other essential services, and under constant threat of deportation. Marcia, who has lived and worked in Montreal for 35 years without status, is a crying example of the everyday impacts of the border: ”As a non status young woman up until my middle age, I gave a lot to Canada. I worked very hard, was cheap labour. But because I didn’t have status, I didn’t have no medicare, and my salary was only enough to survive, I couldn’t get help for my diabetes. That is why I can no longer see.”
The Status for All mobilization has been organized annually since 2004 by Solidarity Across Borders, a Montreal-based migrant justice network advocating open borders and the free movement of people seeking justice and dignity. Media are invited to attend the march and press conference, and as the mobilization approaches, to get in touch to request interviews over the week with our members, who will be speaking from their own experiences of migration and our ongoing collective struggles with the Canadian immigration regime.
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Graham Latham (for English media) – 438-877-3800
• Marcia’s Year-Long Fight for Access: http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/timeline-marcias-year-long-fight-for-access
• Open Letter to Justin Trudeau from the Non-Status Women’s Collective of Montreal: http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/open-letter-from-the-non-status-womens-collective-of-montreal
• Community Alert: Montreal is NOT a Sanctuary City: http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/community-alert-montreal-is-not-a-sanctuary-city
• Principles for a Regularization Program in Canada: http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/principles-for-a-regularization-program-in-canada