Montreal, 31 March 2023 – Migrant justice networks are devastated and enraged by the news that six individuals including at least one child died trying to cross the Canadian-American border. The news announced late Thursday afternoon by local police comes only days after the announcement of a new agreement between the US and Canada which makes it significantly more difficult to cross the border safely. At least three of the people carried Indian passports, and federal officials believe they were crossing into the US from Canada.
“The Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) and other immigration laws are meant to deter migration from the global south by making border crossing deadly. Let’s be clear, these deaths were predictable and predicted – and in that sense they are intentional. Just like the deaths on the US-Mexican border, just like the deaths in the Mediterranean, these deaths are a result of a system designed to endanger people who, as everyone knows, will not, and cannot, stop coming. These deaths are about shoring up the wealth of the global north,” said Nazila Bettache, a member of Caring for Social Justice Collective.
“Nothing is accidental. These immigration policies put human lives at risk! We cross borders for a better world and instead face death,” said Samira Jasmin, spokesperson for Solidarity Across Borders.
“Fritznel Richard. Jose Leos Cervantes. Now six more people. We all know that even more people will die as a result of the most recent expansion of the STCA. This expansion is meant to make migrants invisible to the eyes of citizens here. But we won’t be invisible. Our lives and deaths matter. And we hold Trudeau and Biden accountable, as well as every populist politician making migrants the scapegoat of the very real crises we are facing globally,” said Hady Anne, spokesperson for Solidarity Across Borders.
“We call for an end to the STCA, and we call for equality and justice for all migrants in Canada through permanent resident status for all so no one is forced to risk their lives and safety.” added Anne.
CBC News, March 30, 2023, “6 bodies, including 1 child, recovered from St. Lawrence River”
Radio Canada, 31 mars, 2023, “Six corps repêchés à Akwesasne : au moins une autre personne manque à l’appel”
La Presse, 29 mars, 2023, “Des voix s’élèvent pour dénoncer la fermeture du chemin Roxham”