The General Membership of CUPE 3906 strongly condemns the recent policies of the Trump administration and the practices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency who have willfully abused human rights and engaged in torture through the separation of parents and children in various detention centers across the country. The most recent numbers indicate that at least 2300 children have been separated from their families since April; however, this is a considerable underestimation given that not all ports of entry have reported their numbers to Homeland Security.
While the Trump administration has rescinded its policy of separating families at the border due to mounting political backlash, there have thus far been no efforts to actively reunite families, as children are effectively being used as hostages for political leverage. This gross violation of human rights is utterly deplorable and must not pass with silence.
The international community, including Canada, must take a stand against these practices. CUPE 3906 would like to call on elected officials and ordinary citizens alike to take two minutes out of their workday to sign and submit the Council of Canadians’ and Amnesty International Canada’s letters to Justin Trudeau and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, urging them to suspend Canada’s “Safe Third Country Agreement” that prevents the vast majority of asylum seekers who arrive in the U.S. from making claims in Canada. By now it should be clear to everyone that refugees are no longer safe in the United States.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement that “this is not the way we do things in Canada,” denies a history of forcibly separating children from their family, and contradicts the practices that continue today. The forceful separation of families has been a central practice in Canada’s settler-colonial institutions. The current child welfare system represents a “humanitarian crisis” as over 50% of the are Indigenous.
Moreover, while we must rightly call on the United States to end their policy of detention and reunite these families for good, CUPE 3906 also calls on Canada to end its policy of separating children from their parents in immigration detention. Year-over-year the number of families separated in detention has increased. This unacceptable and inhumane practice has lasting negative consequences that do not conform with the best interests of the children that our system is intended to protect.
We urge you to take the following action(s):
The Council of Canadians’ letter to PM Justin Trudeau and Minister Hussen: https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=65127
Link to Amnesty International Canada’s letter to Minister Hussen: https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1770&ea.campaign.id=63426&_ga=2.70040338.363122809.1529501450-419011758.1529501450
You can also contact your local MP directly by following the directions linked here: https://www.amnesty.ca/blog/tell-your-mp-usa-isnt-safe-refugees
Anyone looking for more information on Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. can read the FAQ fact sheet provided by the Canadian Council for Refugees linked here: http://ccrweb.ca/en/refugees-entering-us-and-safe-third-country-faq
Finally, we’d also urge you to connect with local migrant rights groups, such as Justicia 4 Migrant Workers (http://www.justicia4migrantworkers.org/), the Hamilton Immigrant Working Centre (http://iwchamilton.ca/), Wesley Urban Ministries (https://wesley.ca/refugee-information-portal/) , Refuge: Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health (https://www.newcomerhealth.ca/), the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War (http://hamiltoncoalitiontostopthewar.ca/), and the Emergency Support Committee for Refugees (https://www.escr1987.com/), to whom our General Membership Meeting supporting making a financial donation to on June 27th, 2018.
We urge you for your support in these trying times.
Angie Perez, President
On behalf of the General Membership of CUPE Local 3906