Open Letter: Full Immigration Status for All
We, the undersigned, join the Migrant Rights Network in calling for full and permanent immigration status for all, without exclusions.
COVID-19 has exposed deep inequalities in our society. The fault lines are gendered and racialized: the worst impacts are being felt by women and in Indigenous, Black and Brown communities. Those most impacted have received the least support. Meanwhile, large corporations that have already accumulated immense profits receive massive bailouts.
Migrants, refugees and undocumented people have lost work and wages during the crisis but many have been shut out of emergency income supports. Those already without wages have been abandoned. They cannot pay rent, have faced starvation, lost life savings and are sacrificing essential health care.
Others have been forced to keep working in dangerous conditions. Migrant workers on farms, in greenhouses and meat and food processing plants have been hit with massive COVID-19 outbreaks. Three migrant farm workers have already died: Juan López Chaparro, Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos. Migrant domestic workers remain trapped in the homes of their employers, facing greater surveillance, abuse and violence. Migrant students, working in low-wage jobs in warehouses and as delivery drivers, have had their tuition fees hiked to subsidize Canadian universities and colleges.
Now, as businesses reopen, those without work have little choice but to accept unsafe jobs. But conditions are the same as before — low wages and minimal labour protections. Hard-fought gains in access to healthcare remain precarious and limited. Rent hasn’t been paid and evictions are on the horizon. With mounting debt, many are facing greater exploitation but have no way to defend themselves.
An unjust immigration system is responsible. At least one in twenty-three people (over 1.6 million people) are without permanent resident status. Migrants are punished for for leaving bad employers, doing sex work, or getting sick. Access to services varies by immigration permit and is virtually non-existent for those who have been forced out of status. Lack of permanent resident status makes it difficult, and often impossible, for migrants to speak up for their rights or access services, including those they may be eligible for, because of a well-founded fear of reprisals, termination, eviction and deportation. Migrants, refugees, and undocumented people want to take care of their families and be active members of their communities. But federal immigration rules tip the scales against them.
We call for a single-tier immigration system, where everyone in the country has the same rights. All migrants, refugees and undocumented people in the country must be regularized and given full immigration status now without exception. All migrants arriving in the future must do so with full and permanent immigration status.
Full immigration status for all is necessary for global justice. COVID-19 has ravaged communities around the world, deepening economic and political crises that are being exploited by governments. Yet, Canada has closed its borders to refugees and families remain separated. Canada must support migrants and refugees here, reunite families, and ensure that no one is forced to leave their homes.
There is a global anti-racist resurgence that is sweeping the country. Violence against, and exclusion of Black communities in particular is being challenged head on. Temporary and precarious migration is racism – it excludes racialized communities from equal rights and protections. Full immigration status for all is necessary for racial justice.
Many migrants are engaged in essential work, ensuring that families and communities are cared for. Yet the majority of this work is low-waged, and the majority of those who do it are racialized and women migrants. This work is necessary not just during a public health crisis, but to transition our economies away from the impending climate catastrophe. Bad employers use immigration status as a tool to divide and pit workers against each other – citizens against non-citizens – to keep wages low and profits high. Full immigration status for all is an essential step towards eliminating inequalities in the workplace and necessary for a transition to a just and sustainable economy of care.
We are all essential. We all deserve full immigration status.
Recovery from COVID-19 calls for a rethinking of the ways in which our communities and our economy is organized. Prime Minister Trudeau: Full Immigration Status for All is just, fair, necessary and urgent. The time is now.
visit : https://migrantrights.ca/status-for-all/
On March 16, 2020, as the COVID crisis was first hitting, we at the Migrant Rights Network called for healthcare, worker rights, income support, access to social services, and immigration status for migrant and undocumented people.
12 months later, we look back and we look ahead. With you, we vow to keep organizing and fighting for full and permanent immigration status for all.
(1) HEALTHCARE FOR ALL: As COVID-19 raged through 2020, migrants won policies in many provinces to ensure access to healthcare and COVID testing. But in many places these policies are not being implemented and migrants continue to be turned away or charged high fees for life-saving care. Today, we are calling on all provinces and the federal government to put in place concrete measures to ensure safe and dignified access without fear to COVID19 vaccinations.
(2) WORKER PROTECTIONS & INCOME SUPPORTS: As a result of our work, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was extended to migrants, a valid Social Insurance Number was made mandatory part way through 2020 to qualify for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Now with tax season approaching, many migrants are scared of a clawback they cannot afford. We demand a CERB/CRB amnesty.
Without income support, migrant people either faced starvation and eviction, or were forced to work in dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions. Farmworkers, care workers, delivery workers, cleaners and other low-wage workers are called ‘essential’ even as we are excluded from essential rights and protections. But we take care of us: Migrants fundraised, set up mutual aid networks and stepped in when governments failed us. Migrants stood up against bad bosses, organized strikes and raised our voices. We will continue to organize for justice and equality.
(3) STATUS FOR ALL: Fundamentally, a fair society with equal rights for all requires that everyone have the same immigration status. This is why migrants organized over 30 rallies, protests and marches calling for Full & Permanent Immigration Status for All.
In early 2020, the federal government announced a moratorium on deportations because of the pandemic. But the callous practice of deportation continues: by the end of 2020, Canada had deported more people in 2020 than in the previous 5 years. Just this week, a man who contracted COVID while in immigrartion detention was deported despite showing symptoms. Throughout, migrants organized in detention centers, and in Quebec, many secured their own release. Migrant student workers denounced government policies that punished them for the pandemic by letting their permits run out. They won new work permits, a one-time stopgap to the deportation of 52,000 people. But immigration rules continue to exclude low-waged working class people, particularly undocumented workers and those on employer controlled indentureship permits.
(4) SOCIAL SUPPORTS: While some federal, provincial and municipal supports went towards emergency food boxes, it was primarily donations from people like you that allowed migrant groups to feed communities without work. Poor and working class migrants were only able to ward off evictions, get healthcare, childcare or social supports when we united with our neighbours and co-workers to offer real solidarity in the face of deadly policies.
A year into this pandemic, let us re-commit to building a different future together. Talk to your neighbours, friends and co-workers. Raise your voice. Echo and amplify the demands of migrant and undocumented people. Let us build a just world for all of us.
Migrant Rights Network
Migrant Rights Network is Canada’s only cross-country coalition of migrant led organizations and allies with migrant and undocumented membership from coast to coast.
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Ottawa, December 31, 2020--Effective January 1, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is renewing a temporary public policy that provides more time for temporary residents to apply to restore their legal status in Canada.
This public policy, which has been in place since July 2020 but was set to expire, recognizes that many temporary residents in Canada have been affected by worldwide health- and travel-related restrictions, and may need to remain in Canada for longer than they anticipated.
Under the public policy, visitors, students and workers whose valid temporary status expired, or expires, between January 30, 2020, and May 31, 2021, will have until August 31, 2021, to restore their status. In addition, the public policy will continue to allow former work permit holders applying for an employer-specific work permit to work while a decision on their restoration application is pending..
For more info please visit : https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/public-policy-extended-restore-status.html?fbclid=IwAR