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Winnipeg chapter calls on city council to support sanctuary city designation

The Council of Canadians Winnipeg chapter along with Prairies-NWT organizer Brigette DePape attended a #NoBanNoWall protest today.

The Canadian Press reports, “Several dozen protesters braved the Winnipeg cold to push city council to declare the city a sanctuary for undocumented migrants. One rally organizer, Hazim Ismail, says Winnipeg should follow in the steps of cities such as Toronto, which declared itself a sanctuary city in 2013. He says the declaration would help ensure programs helping refugee claimants and other are maintained, and provide a safer environment for undocumented migrants. Speakers at the rally say Canada needs to offer more help after moves by the United States to ban refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries.”

The CBC adds, “Sanctuary status ensures residents with no documentation status have the same rights to city services as everyone else. The group No One is Illegal–Winnipeg is hosting a ‘No Ban, No Wall’ march Friday in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S. Last spring, Vancouver city council unanimously approved an Access Without Fear policy that entitles undocumented immigrants to access health care and other municipal services without fear of being deported.”

The Council of Canadians supports the sanctuary city movement.

We celebrated when Toronto moved towards becoming a sanctuary city in February 2013 and when Hamilton became a sanctuary city in February 2014.

In September 2016, CNN reported, “Donald Trump vowed in a signature speech on immigration to dismantle so-called sanctuary cities, which he blamed for harboring dangerous immigrants who commit crimes against Americans. The sanctuary movement is said to have grown out of efforts by churches in the 1980s to provide sanctuary to Central Americans fleeing violence at home amid reluctance by the federal government to grant them refugee status.”

Earlier this week, Forbes reported, “On January 25th, President Trump signed an executive order stating that so-called ‘sanctuary cities’–or cities where local government officials choose not to cooperate with federal deportation agents–would lose federal funding. Trump’s executive order says the federal government ‘shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants’. This 1373 code prevents local officials from withholding someone’s immigration status from federal agents.”

But that article highlights, “Now San Francisco has struck back, with a lawsuit titled City and County of San Francisco v. Donald J. Trump. The lawsuit was filed by city attorney Dennis Herrera and announced on Twitter late last night by Mayor Ed Lee. It seeks protection from a federal government that the plaintiff claims is violating the 10th amendment. ‘In blatant disregard of the law’, it reads, ‘the President of the United States seeks to coerce local authorities into abandoning what are known as Sanctuary City laws and policies…This strikes at the heart of established principles of federalism’.”

The Council of Canadians encourages Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and City Council to support Winnipeg becoming a sanctuary city.

We also call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reject Trump’s ban that prohibits people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, for the Minister of Immigration to present a plan in the House of Commons on how to address this situation, and for the federal government to immediately rescind the Safe Third Country agreement with the United States.

#NoBanNoWall #RefugeesWelcome