- Canadian Police Greeting Illegal Immigrants from US With A Smile and An Arrest
The Increase of Americans Denied Entry to Canada
Unlike the traditional belief of America becoming the hardest country to immigrate to, Canada has shown new statistics to prove otherwise. Since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadians have been turned away from the US border less than the previous year’s+. Numbers from the Canada Border Service Agency has shown a significant spike from last year’s numbers of refusals for American travelers seeking to cross the border into Canada not just for visits but also immigrating to Canada. While many people have been concerned about having issues at the American border, it is the Americans who are being turned away at the Canadian border. The number of border refusals for Americans has increased by 31% from last year. ++
According to federal documents, in 2014, 7509 American citizens were refused to enter Canada, each year from then it has risen. In 2015, 23,052 Americans in 2016, 30,233 Americans were denied entry to Canada. Immigration experts expect that number to rise above 35,000 in 2017. The sharp increase of denied entry from the US to Canada has forced Americans into illegal immigration. Many Americans who are feeling unsafe in their country are voluntarily walking to Canada with the intention of becoming detained in Canada after crossing the border illegally. In 2013, there was a new intelligence sharing agreement between Ottawa and Washington that likely played a role in starting the increase of Americans denied at the border. Under this agreement, Canadian border agents can detect Americans with criminal records more quickly. An immigration lawyer has mentioned some of his cases, “We receive many more demands from people who traveled for years to Canada without a problem and who are now refused entry for a drinking and driving infractions that dates back 40 years”. ++
Police Help Asylum Seekers Over the Border
Roxham Road is a popular illegal crossing point between the New York and Quebec border. At the end of Roxham Road, there are RCMP officers (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) greeting people crossing the border illegally with a smile and handcuffs ready. This road has been known to represent the flight of those who no longer feel safe and welcome in America anymore, but they know that they cannot enter Canada through customs. In the first two months of 2017, the RCMP officers intercepted 677 asylum seekers crossing the Quebec border according to The Canadian Press. The RCMP spokesman Const. Enrique Gasse says “We give them a warning that if you pass the border, we are going to arrest you.” Gasse continues “This is not very common in our job, but when we say that, they start walking towards us!”
Officers have been seen to help assist women and carry kids over the ditch that crosses between the two countries. These kind actions of helping families seek asylum by illegally crossing the border has received tremendous media attention. “They tell us they are interested in the story because of the way we treat them when they cross the border. For us, it’s a crime. We arrest them. We do our police work. But in other parts of the world they aren’t as warm as here in Canada.”+++ The kindness that Canada has shown the world has been a great source of debate between Canadians who take pride in their generosity and those who have more conservative views on the subject. Kevin O’Leary is a Conservative leadership candidate who reportedly said he would use the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure people who “sneak across the border” will not be able to claim charter protections and receive Canadian benefits+++. Another leadership candidate, Maxime Bernier, vowed that he would deploy the military to border points such as Rodham Road. Both candidates have made their voices heard on their opinion of the asylum seekers.
Many people believe the people who are crossing the US-Canada border illegally are tapping into the loophole that Canada provides. Canada is part of the Safe Third Country Agreement which allows a person to make a refugee claim in Canada as long as they do not enter the country at an official port of entry++++. So once the refugee passes through a non-official port, such as the Roxham Road, they are taken in and processed as a refugee who can claim refugee status to stay in Canada.
Immigration Lawyers have taken it upon themselves to represent many of these asylum seekers. Eric Taillefer, a Montreal immigration lawyer, has represented many of the travelers who pass through on the Roxham Road. “What the agreement does, it forces people to enter Canada by any means that they can find, whether it be hiding in a car, crossing through the woods or finding any other kind of method of crossing.” Immigration specialists say that although the agreement does increase numbers of illegal immigration if the contract were suspended it would double the number of legal refugees in Canada.
American’s Against Anti-Immigration Groups
Plattsburgh Cares is a coalition of social groups, faith-based organizations and others in the city about 25 kilometers south of the border who are trying to stop anti-immigration ideals. Jo Ellen Miamo, one of the founders of Plattsburgh Cares, says “Our hearts are really broken that this has tarnished who we feel we still are. The best thing we can do is articulate that we are determined to hang on to the values that are fundamental to the United States of America. Another one of the Plattsburgh Cares founders, Carole Slatkin, added: “Somehow this country seems to have lost sight that it was founded by immigrants.” Out on the Roxham Road, these asylum seekers are not waiting to see if America can grasp that idea again but instead are immigrating to Canada for a better chance at life.
Canada Schools Suspends Field Trips to the US
Even though statistics have shown more Americans are being turned away, Canadians have taken into their own hands the dangers of traveling over the U.S. border. The Toronto District School Board, which represents over 245,000 students in its district, has suspended school trips to the United States. The board officials allegedly blamed Trump’s past travel bans which banned future visitors and immigrants from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya. “We strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border,” the Toronto District School Board director John Malloy said+++++.
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- Refugees in Canada- Starbucks has Hiring Plans
Starbucks Announces Hiring 10,000 Refugees by 2018
Now that the original travel ban and the revised travel ban has come and gone, many people fear the future of refugees in America. Thankfully, companies are working to better the lives of refugees looking for a safe and better start to their new life.
Starbucks, the highly modern and popular coffee chain has announced their plan to hire around 10,000 refugees from countries around the world. Although Starbucks is an American based company, Canadian Starbucks have agreed to hire thousands of refugees as well. On Wednesday, March 22, the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz spoke out about his personal disbelief of President Trump’s travel bans in Muslim-majority countries and the suspension of refugee programs. As a result of his public criticism of the bans, he reaffirmed the Starbucks company values by announcing he will commit to hiring refugees. (In order to hire refugees, the company will either have to sponsor the refugees with job offers, or the refugee will have to obtain a Canada work visa.) Schultz also stated “building bridges, not walls, with Mexico” backing up his belief of embracing immigration.
The Starbucks Canada vice president, Luisa Girotto said “We see the role Canada plays in accepting refugees. These newcomers need jobs to resettle successfully. We believe in their potential. They have tremendous skills to contribute to our company and to our country.” As Girotto said, Canada has played a significant role in accepting and helping refugees compared to the American government. “All they need is the first opportunity to kick-start a new life in Canada. We have thousands of jobs to fill and enough opportunity for every segment in society.” Girotto added. The vice president announced that the Starbucks Company would work with Hire Immigrants which is an agency out of Ryerson University that supports businesses to involve new immigrant workers. Working with Hire Immigrants to recruit, train and retain refugee employees through local communities’ networks in many cities throughout Canada such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Calgary. The executive director of Hire Immigrants, Mark Patterson, said he wasn’t surprised when he was approached by Starbucks to become a partner of the refugee employment program. Starbucks has been very active in participating in their program called Starbucks’ Opportunity Youth program which focuses on hiring and training the young people to decrease the high youth unemployment rate. Hiring refugees will be integrated into this program as well. Patterson said “Here is a company that understands the diverse population it serves. Diversity is part of its values. We hope we can get the message out to show the economic values of being diverse and inclusive, and to spur other employers to do the same.”
Starbucks Responds to Anti-Immigration Supporters by Hiring Veterans
Starbucks is expected to experience some backlash from anti-immigrant supporters. Other companies that have hired refugees have suffered the same treatment. Chobani, a New York-based yogurt company, was attacked on social media for hiring refugees. Some people have boycotted the yogurt company, and it is also expected for Starbucks. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, is not fazed by the possibility of boycotting. Many people who are anti-immigrant have made the argument of why hire refugees if there are Americans without jobs. Starbucks has also contributed profoundly to the hiring of veterans and family members of veterans. Starbucks has hired more than 5,500 veterans and military spouses so far, and they have committed to making that number 10,000 by 2018. Starbucks also has planned to build 30 military family stores near U.S. military bases which will be managed and run by veterans and military spouses committed to connecting veterans and families to community and transition resources.
You can expect over the next five years to see Starbucks hire 10,000 refugees whose talent, experience and resilience enrich the communities we live in. Starbucks is already ahead of their current 10,000 hiring commitment of veterans and beyond their 36,000 hiring mark of youth. The Canadian economy highly depends on Canadian immigration, without it the structure of Canada would fall. With the help of Canadian Starbucks, refugees will have an opportunity with a great company and a safer country.
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- Canadian Women Turned Away at US Border: Racially Motivated?
A Canadian woman with valid passport, Manpreet Kooner, was turned away at the U.S. border for uncertain reasons. Initially, when she was turned away after presenting her Canadian passport, the border agents reportedly told her that she now needs a valid immigrant visa to enter America. Typically most travelers from Canada and Bermuda do not require a visa for tourism and visits which are exactly what Kooner was doing that day.
Kooner is a Canadian citizen born in Canada to her two Indian parents. She lives in Montreal’s Lasalle borough with her fiance. She works at a local Canadian college within the science lab department. She was heading from Montreal to Vermont for a spa day with her two friends. Kooner said she was held at the border for six hours before she was told to turn around and return to Montreal.
The border agents reportedly told Manpreet Kooner she needs to apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. She went to the embassy the next day only to find out they couldn’t help her. The embassy’s advice was to speak with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where she was turned away in the first place. Another controversial action by a border agent was mentioned. Allegedly at one point during the interrogation between Kooner and the border agents, an agent told her: “I know you may feel like you’ve been Trumped,” a reference to the U.S. President, Donald Trump. The reference was mainly referring to many foreigners being stopped at the border due to President Trump’s tough immigration laws. This is controversial because in a statement by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, they adopted a policy in 2014 that “prohibits the consideration of race or ethnicity in law enforcement, investigation, and screening activities, in all but the most exceptional circumstances.”
Kooner did not directly relate her case to racism, but she did mention that her two friends she came along with were white and not questioned at the border. “People have said we need to take that (racism) into account here, because unfortunately, yeah, my skin color is brown,” she said.
She had had trouble at the border before President Trump was in office. She was stopped before as a random check. She was made to fill out numerous forms only to find out their computers were down, and she could not enter without them working. Kooner and many others are confused why she has been stopped and turned away so many times since she is a Canadian citizen, has no criminal record, and has visited the U.S. many times before.
As stated before most travelers from Canada typically do not need a visa for tourism and visits to the United States. Only Canadians who are intending to immigrate or planning to marry a U.S. citizen are those who need a valid visa. Manpreet Kooner is not planning to immigrate or marry a U.S. citizen; she was purely visiting a day spa.
“I feel targeted. I’m set aside from everyone else, and I feel helpless because I keep asking, ‘What do I need to do?’”
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- How to Defend Yourself From Immigration Raids
Recently the raids of undocumented criminals have started in cities across America. Many undocumented immigrants, without a criminal record, are wondering what they should do if an ICE agent comes to your door.
What immigrant advocates want you to do if ICE agents come to your door
The sudden and unexpected deportation of the undocumented Mexican immigrant, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, sparked fears of immigrants across the country that President Donald Trump is beginning to fulfill his campaign promise to deport the largest number of immigrants that the United States has ever seen. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), deported Garcia de Rayos from Arizona to Mexico on Thursday, February 9th. The reason her case was so particular was mainly that she was what seemed like an average US citizen of the community as a mother of two and a hard worker. This sparked significant amount of fear throughout immigrants.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry warned Mexican citizens living in the United States to “take precautions.” They said in a statement on Friday “The case involving Mrs. Garcia de Rayos illustrates a new reality for the Mexican community living in the United States, facing the most severe implementation of immigration control measures,”. American immigrant advocates made similar statements and then began circulating fliers designed to inform the undocumented immigrants living in America their rights.
Who is at Risk of Being Arrested by ICE?
The law allows the federal government to deport certain immigrants, including:
- Anyone without lawful immigration status
- People with status (e.g., legal permanent residents, refugees, and US visa holders) who have certain criminal convictions
The people the Trump Administration announced ICE with initially focus on deporting include:
- People with pending criminal cases and prior criminal convictions;
- People with final orders of removal.
- People who have committed fraud or misrepresentation in applications to the government;
- People they believe pose a threat to public safety or national security
What To Do If You Are At Risk
- Make a Plan with your loved ones in case you are picked up by ICE
- Avoid contact with Immigration, don’t apply to change your immigration status or renew your green card and don’t travel outside of the United States without talking to a US immigration lawyer first!
- Avoid contact with the Criminal Justice System (The police share your fingerprints with Immigration).
Know Your Rights
ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, created the fliers to educate immigrants of their rights. United We Dream, which is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, also shared the fliers on their social media. The fliers were sent out to social media and are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Korean. The fliers instructed people in danger of deportation what to do if ICE agents came to their doors.
If ICE Agents Show Up At Your Door:
- Don’t open the door, but be calm. You have rights.
- Ask what they are there for, (and ask for an interpreter if you need one).
- If they ask to enter, ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge and if so, ask to see it (through a window or slipped under the door).
- If they do NOT have a warrant signed by a judge, you may refuse to let them in. Ask them to leave any information at your door.
- If they force their way in, don’t resist. Tell everyone in residence to remain silent.
- If you are arrested, remain silent and do not sign anything until you speak to a US lawyer.
An ICE administrative warrant (form 1-200, 1-205) does not allow them to enter your home without consent.
Fight your case with a trustworthy immigration attorney or immigration lawyer. They will help you explore all your options to fight your case. The flier even reads “If detained, you may be able to get bail — don’t give up hope!”
After the news of the recent undocumented immigrant arrests, immigration advocates also resurfaced a rights flier and an ICE raids toolkit that was previously published by the Immigration Defense Project, which works for legal justice for immigrants in the United States.
Within the rights flier, it shows you how to defend yourself if an ICE agent approaches you on the street. When an ICE agent arrests someone in public, it typically happens quickly. They may call your name outlaid and asked you to confirm your name then detain you.
What To Do If You Are Approached On The Street
- Before you say your name or anything else ask, “AM I FREE TO GO?”
- If they say YES: say “I don’t want to answer your questions” or “I’d rather not speak with you right now.” Walk away.
- If they say NO: use your right to remain silent! Say “I want to use my right not to answer questions” and then “I want to speak to a lawyer.”
- If ICE starts to search inside your pockets or belongings, say “I do not consent to a search.”
- DON’T LIE or show false documents. Don’t flee or resist arrest.
- Don’t answer questions about your immigration status or when you were born. They will use any information you provide, against you. Do not hand over any foreign documents such as a passport, consular IDs, or expired visas.
- If you are in Criminal Court for a court date, ask to speak to your defender before they take you away.
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