For thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are sweatshops. Immigrants and refugees work the most precarious and dangerous jobs. The Canadian economy cannot survive without this work force that is exploited due to the lack of permanent status and the threat of forced removal.
These undocumented people are our neighbors, our colleagues, our classmates and our friends. They are people whose only “crime” was to migrate in the search for a better life for themselves and their family.
Too often non-status migrants do not have access to essential services such as health care, education or social services. Or, they might never dare entering a hospital, clinic or food bank for fear that their status be revealed to the authorities.
We demand that:
- everyone living here should have access to free health care in clinics, CLSCs and hospitals. Medical facilities should never ask for information on immigration status. Instead, they should work to provide appropriate and respectful care to all users. We want health care to be accessible to all and support efforts to defend the public health care system.
- everyone living here should be able to attend school free of charge, regardless of their – or their parents – immigration status. We are in favor of universal education for all, from kindergarten to university, and defend accessible education at all levels and for all people.
- the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) should not have any right to enter and arrest migrants in hospitals, clinics, shelters, schools, or any space providing essential services; ultimately, the CBSA should not be welcome anywhere in our communities.
- any person living here should have access to social housing, food banks, unemployment benefits and any other social welfare regardless of immigration status.
A Solidarity City is the creation of a community that rejects a system that engenders poverty and anguish, not solely for immigrants and refugees, but also for other Montrealers confronting these same realities.
We are opposing fear, isolation, precarity and division. We strike back with solidarity, mutual aid, support work and direct action.
The “Solidarity City” campaign is an attempt to generalize and broaden some key organizing principles that have been applied in migrant justice work in Montreal:
- breaking isolation and fear; attempting to network and unify around common, direct and straightforward demands (ie. status for all, as well as opposition to deportations and detentions);
- practicing tangible mutual aid and solidarity (support work) in contrast to charity or “service” approaches;
- organizing campaigns arising from on-the-ground realities;
- building the capacity of our mutual aid and support networks over the long-term;
- holding decision-makers directly accountable for their actions and policies;
- using direct action to achieve justice.