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Council of Canadians tells Transit Police Board that public transit is not a border checkpoint

Council of Canadians organizer Leila Darwish presented a deputation to the Transit Police Board meeting in Metro Vancouver this morning.

Darwish stated, “We are one of over forty organizations that endorsed the Transportation Not Deportation campaign. Like many of the groups and individuals who are here to speak to you today on this critical issue, the Council of Canadians believes that everyone deserves access to public transportation without fear of being criminalized, abused, detained, and deported. …The Council of Canadians and our members are pleased that the pressure and determination of concerned community members has forced an end to the memorandum between Transit Police and CBSA. But whether this is a true victory for justice remains to be seen.”

Darwish then outlined four key asks:

  1. We ask you for clarification in how your recent decision to terminate the memorandum between Transit Police and CBSA will be enforced and monitored.

  2. We ask that the Translink and Transit Police also give full assurance that the personal information being gathered by your officers will not be shared at all with CBSA.

  3. We echo the demand from The Transportation not Deportation campaign that a wide range of acceptable ID be accepted by your officers.

  4. We ask that you remove the CBSA Enforcement and Intelligence Division, CBSA Investigations Tip Line, and Immigration Warrant Response Center phone numbers as well as all immigration-related databases such as Immigration Detainees Management System from Translink and Transit Police databases.

She then concluded, “The Council of Canadians stands behind the efforts of all those who have organized and mobilized to hold Translink and the Transit Police accountable. We support all five demands of the Transportation not Deportation Campaign. We hope that the recent decision to cut ties with CBSA is one of action and not empty promises. Again, public transit it not a border checkpoint, and we strongly feel that it is not your job to be enforcing federal immigration policy. Public transit is a public service and this is a human rights issue!”

Further reading
Metro Vancouver Transit Police and CBSA should stop all information sharing: groups (February 27, 2015 Canadian Press news article)
WIN! Transit Police terminate agreement with Canada Border Services Agency (February 2015 blog)
Council of Canadians opposes Harper’s “four and four” rule for migrant workers (February 2015 blog)
Toronto declares itself a ‘sanctuary city’, rejects Harper agenda (February 2013 blog)

Photos: Twenty-two people presented to Transit Police Board in Vancouver this morning.