Saturday, May 27, 2006

Illegals protest Canada's immigration laws.

Immigration: This is what happens when you don't say no and enforce your laws to make the point you have to follow them.

Protests were also held in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and Fredericton to demand the federal government immediately grant permanent resident or landed immigrant status to all illegal workers, estimated at 500,000 across the country by the protests' organizers. The demonstrators also demanded the Conservative government put the wheels of a full-regularization program in motion. Marchers in Toronto said officers for Canada Border Services Agency are targeting immigrants such as Mr. Aranga, knocking on the doors of people they suspect are living here illegally, stopping them in shopping malls and subways and using children as bait to nab parents. “The Harper-style immigration policies are ... intolerable,” said Sima Zerehi, a spokeswoman for No One is Illegal Toronto. “We want Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper to end these practices. We want an immediate moratorium on deportations and an immediate regularization program that meets everybody's needs.” The federal opposition parties are applying pressure on the government as well. Toronto-area Liberal MPs Boris Wrzesnewskyj and Mario Silva, and NDP MP Olivia Chow, were all in attendance at the Toronto rally on Saturday. Ms. Chow says she expects a motion asking the government to temporarily halt deportations, offer work permits to some non-status workers and create a program to integrate skilled workers into the construction and service sectors will pass when she submits it at the committee level on Monday. From there, the motion could come before the House of Commons this week. Marching at the rally were Kimberly and Gerald Lizano-Sossa, 15 and 14, the brother and sister who were picked up by border service agents at their Toronto high school last month and taken with their mother and grandparents to an immigration holding centre. The siblings have become the poster children of the movement against deporting illegal workers. The family was later released, but must leave the country by July 2, days after the siblings finish the school year. Gerald Lizano-Sossa, the children's father, says he's already bought the plane tickets but is hopeful that with demonstrations like Saturday's and political pressure from federal opposition parties, he will be allowed to stay. “I have the tickets already but I hope I'm going to lose that money I paid for it,” he said.

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