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Home Balitang Migrante Migrant groups organize rallies across Canada

Migrant groups organize rallies across Canada

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Migrant groups organize rallies across Canada
Chris Sorio, secretary general of Migrante Canada and a staunch supporter of undocumented migrant workers in British Columbia, criticized the Canadian government's indifference to their plight. (Photo by Lui Queano)
A Committee for Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR) member demanded that the Canadian government grant
status to all migrant workers at the rally. (Photo by Lui Queano)

On Sunday, March 19, the ” Status For All ” rally in British Columbia joined forces with similar events across Canada. When speakers described how the government treated migrant workers without compassion, denying them benefits and social services due to their status, the crowds chanted, “STATUS FOR ALL, NOW, The People United Will Never Be Defeated”, “Stop Deportation”, “Regularization Now!” and responded in unison with the word “SHAME”.

Along the corner of Georgia and Hamilton, in front of the CBC Station Building in downtown Vancouver, protesters chanted in unison for the Trudeau administration to grant legal status to all migrant workers.

Chris Sorio, secretary general of Migrante Canada and a staunch supporter of undocumented migrant workers in British Columbia, criticized the Canadian government’s indifference to their plight.

Sorio says that the temporary workers program has changed into other ways that don’t fix the problems with the immigration system. He went on to say that in Canada, there are only two kinds of workers: those who have rights and those who don’t. Those who don’t have rights, he said, are treated differently even though employment standards protect them. Sorio used the case of Danilo de Leon to show how racism and discrimination exist in the country. De Leon, like all other undocumented migrant workers, has helped the Canadian economy by paying taxes, but he now faces deportation.

“They created a program and assured migrant workers that they could become permanent residents in this country, which they now call home. However, this problem has persisted for over a decade, and Canada currently houses 1,7 million undocumented migrant workers without status, which is a disgrace,” Sorio said.

Sorio reminded Immigration Minister Sean Fraser of the mandate given to him by Prime Minister Trudeau to resolve the country’s immigration crisis. On March 21, the Canadian government intends to announce its regularization program, which Sorio and all other migrant groups and advocates hope will grant legal status to all migrant workers in the country.

Demonstrators at the Status for All Rally carry placards demanding full and permanent status for all, which would provide
protection from deportation, access to social services, and employment guarantees. (Photo by Lui Queano)

At the rally, a member of Committee for  Workers and Caregivers Rights(CDWCR) demanded that the Canadian government do the right thing, which is to grant status to all migrant workers without exception. With full and permanent status upon arrival, undocumented workers would be exempt from deportation, have access to social services, and be guaranteed employment, according to the group.

A migrant worker from Mexico who arrived in Canada five years ago was granted permanent residency after satisfying numerous procedural requirements, including a request for refugee status on humanitarian grounds. It took many years for her family to obtain legal status, but they did so eventually. She stated that she joined the rally in support of all undocumented workers in order to continue the struggle until all migrant workers had won.

Other Canadian cities that took part in a nationally coordinated protest were Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Niagara, Sudbury, and Victoria, which was organized by the Migrant Rights Network (MRN), of which Migrante Canada is a member. Among the groups that organized the rally were Sanctuary Health, Committee for Domestic Workers’ and Caregivers’ Rights, Migrante BC, Migrante Canada, Migrants Students United, Sanctuary Schools, and Worker Solidarity Network. The International Day for the Abolition of Racism rally demanded equal rights and permanent resident status for all undocumented people, migrant workers, students, families, and refugees.