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WIN! Transit Police terminate agreement with Canada Border Services Agency

Transportation not deportation

The Council of Canadians extends its solidarity and congratulations to the Transportation not Deportation campaign. We endorsed this campaign when it was launched this past January because we agree that the public transit system should not be a border checkpoint.

In a media release, they report that yesterday afternoon, “Transit Police informed representatives of the Transportation not Deportation campaign that they will terminate their Memorandum of Understanding with CBSA [the Canadian Border Services Agency], that officers must receive permission from a Watch Commander to initiate contact with CBSA, and that they will not detain people without warrants for items that are simply contravention of immigration law…”

Their media release explains, “Transit Police and the Pacific Region Enforcement Center of CBSA have had a Memorandum of Understanding since 2007. Transit Police reported three hundred and twenty eight people to Canada Border Services Agency in 2013, one in five of whom faced a subsequent immigration investigation including deportation. …One of these people was Mexican migrant and hotel worker Lucia Vega Jiménez, who later committed suicide while in CBSA custody.”

The Canadian Press adds, “Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan says the force has discontinued its agreement with the border agency, and an individual must be wanted on an outstanding warrant before officers make a similar arrest. She says the coroner’s inquest that followed the death of Jimenez stimulated discussion and brought the issue to the forefront.”

Harsha Walia of Transportation not Deportation says, “As a direct result of grassroots community mobilizing including forty organizations and over 1500 people demanding an end to Transit Police and CBSA collaboration, Transit police will not be enforcing federal immigration policy.”

To support this campaign, the Council of Canadians highlighted the issue in this blog, Council of Canadians endorses Transportation not Deportation campaign. We also encouraged our supporters to sign a petition that demanded the Transit Police “terminate the Memorandum of Understanding between Transit Police and CBSA” and that they “stop turning people over to CBSA and stop enforcing federal immigration law”. Last year we joined with seven other groups, including No One Is Illegal, requesting the right to call and examine witnesses at the British Columbia Coroners Service inquest into the death of Jiménez. Council of Canadians staff will also be present at the Transit Police board meeting on February 27 to ensure public transportation free from immigration policy enforcement.

For more on the Transportation not Deportation campaign, please see their Facebook page here and their website here.

Further reading
The inquest into the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez (August 2014 blog)
Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter protests the indefinite detention of migrants (February 2015 blog)
Council among 70 groups calling for ‘Border Security’ to be cancelled (April 2013 blog)
Migrant dignity not migrant death (February 2014 blog by Michael Butler)