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Home Balitang Migrante Migrants Workers Rally: Marking International Migrants Day 2022 in Vancouver

Migrants Workers Rally: Marking International Migrants Day 2022 in Vancouver

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Migrants Workers Rally: Marking International Migrants Day 2022 in Vancouver
Rallyists reminded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his promise to grant undocumented people permanent residence status despite the snowfall. Speakers called for equal rights for all migrant workers and protection from deportation for an estimated 500,000 undocumented Canadians. (Photo by Donna Clark)

Vancouver, BC, Dec 18 — Migrant families, migrant organizations, and migrant justice advocates rallied in front of the CBC Building, across the road from the Canada Border Service Agency Office to mark the 22nd anniversary of International Migrants Day. They not only honoured the contributions of migrant workers, including the “undocumented” workers who labour in farms, take care of children, the sick and elderly, and serve in the front lines of essential work, but they also raised the call for Regularization for all undocumented migrants very loud and clear.

Undeterred by the heavy snowfall, the rallyists reminded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his promise to ensure permanent residence status for undocumented people. Rally speakers talked about equal rights for all migrant workers and protection from deportation for an estimated 500,000 undocumented people in Canada.

Omar Chu of Sanctuary Health said that without full immigration status, people do not have labour protections and rights, full access to basic social services like universal health care and housing, and they endure separation from their families and worry about detention and deportation.  He explained that “So much of our system right now creates a power dynamic that enables exploitation,” and that “We need a program that includes everyone and doesn’t leave anyone out.”

Sanctuary Health’s Omar Chu said that without full immigration status, people lack labour protections, access to basic social services like universal health care and housing, and worry about detention and deportation. (Photo by Daisy Espinosa)

Byron Cruz of Sanctuary Health and the outreach coordinator for the BC Federation of Labour’s Occupational Health and Safety Centre’s Migrant Worker Program expressed solidarity with the Indigenous people in Canada. He shared how the Guatemalan army bombed Indigenous communities in Guatemala at this time of the year when he came to Canada as a refugee many years ago. This is no different, he said, with the deportations by CBSA of families at Christmas time.

Byron Cruz of Sanctuary Health (Photo by Donna Clark)

The organizers had a colourful banner of cloth squares made by migrants and migrants’ groups with the calls for Regularization and Status for All which served as the backdrop for the speakers at the rally.

“As we fight and continue to advocate the government for Regularization and Landed Status for All, we also raise the demands to stop to detentions and deportations and for government to issue open work permits, “said Chris Sorio of Migrante BC and Migrante Canada.  He continued that “we should understand the root causes of the migration of the workers leaving their home countries for Canada.”

Migrant family with the children call out for Landed Status Now (Photo by Donna Clark)

Sorio also announced that five cities in BC proclaimed Dec 18 as International Migrants Day in Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, and New Westminster. For the first time, the City of Barrie in Ontario issued its City Proclamation of International Migrants Day this year.

Chris Sorio of Migrante Canada in BC (Photo credit: Daisy Espinosa)

There are significant gains and small victories from the concerted and collective efforts of all migrants’ groups and advocates in the fight for regularization. This year, two migrant families in Alberta were granted reprieves from deportation: Filipina Evangeline Cayanan with her six-year-old daughter McKenna and the family of Mexican migrants Luis Ubando Nolasco, Cinthya Campos and their two daughters. In Toronto, the federal court stayed the deportation of Mexican health worker Claudia Zamorano, her husband and nine-year-old daughter, while in Edmonton, the federal court deferred the deportation order for undocumented worker leader Danilo de Leon of Migrante Canada.

The International Migrants Rally was organized by the Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights, Sanctuary Health, Watari, Asian Labour Alliance, Asian Women for Equality, GABRIELA BC, Migrante BC and Migrante Canada, Migrant Rights Network, and representatives from BCFED and Unite Here Local 40.

To watch the media coverage of the rally, please click here: CBC TV and the CTV News.

For reference: [email protected]