On Saturday, September 18th, Migrante Canada led a national demonstration demanding to regularize the status for all (im)migrants. Regularization refers to granting undocumented migrants the opportunity to apply for legal status in Canada. Such calls to action stem from over 500,000 people living in Canada without legal rights, title, and recognition.
It is important to note that the majority of undocumented people in Canada are racialized. With this in mind, why are racialized migrants seeking refuge in Canada?
Political instability, economic crises, religious and women’s oppression, imperialism, colonialism, and climate change are all connected to why migrants are fleeing to Canada. The countries most impacted by the above social, cultural, economic, and political issues are racialized peoples. At its core, undocumented workers in Canada meaningfully contribute to their communities. By working, they are completing the tasks and duties of a position that no Canadian citizen would entertain.
Low wages, abuses from employers, and long hours are typical qualities of the jobs undocumented workers are able to obtain. Often, employers take advantage of their employee’s vulnerabilities, including a lack of legal education in Canada.
For this reason, undocumented workers are subject to grotesque abuses that traumatize them and their families. Such desperate employment opportunities are seldom public and government knowledge, meaning that undocumented workers often go unnoticed.
Migrante Canada and Regularization
Despite the national call to action to regularize the status of all undocumented people in Canada, the federal government has yet to introduce a tangible plan. Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed interest in working with Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada to build on existing programs, there has been no official intent to regularize status for all.
Not only has Migrante Canada been working nationally to support the needs and protection of undocumented people, but they have made extensive efforts to connect with labour groups and unions.
In doing so, Migrante mobilized thousands of people to support the rights, recognition, and support of undocumented people. Not only are migrant workers being exploited, but undocumented people include children, students, and refugees.
Living without status not only prohibits you from accessing government support and legal representation, but it is fundamentally dehumanizing.
By allowing the category of “undocumented” to be an acceptable form of existence in Canada, the government is indicating that it is appropriate to dehumanize an individual as if they were not a human being. For a country that espouses “human rights” around the world, it is shameful that the Canadian government continues to ignore the exploitation and abuses against undocumented people.
With this in mind, it is vital that individuals mobilize their communities to encourage status for all.
By emailing your Member of Parliament, you can formally address your elected representative to push for regularization at the federal level. Emailing as one person is valuable, yet, moving beyond collectivizing your actions can put more pressure on the federal government. Working with your religious community, social circles, and colleagues is a meaningful way to raise the issue of regularization in Canada.
In addition, Migrante Canada is an exceptional organization to volunteer for in Edmonton and across Canada.
Through campaigns, advocacy, education, research, lobbying, and international solidarity, Migrante serves as an essential service to support undocumented people and their allies. Working with large, diverse organizations like Migrante fills the large gap the Canadian government has left for undocumented people.
In a world where regularization is a reality, we would not need organizations like Migrante to advocate for the basic right to life in Canada. Accordingly, if Canada believes itself to be a leader in freedom and human rights, then the federal government needs to frame undocumented people’s rights as basic human rights.
To contact Migrante Canada, please see this link.