The Toronto Police Services is presenting a report to Toronto City Hall’s Community Development and Recreations Committee saying that their practices of racial profiling, carding, and handing over non-status migrants to immigration enforcement is in line with ensuring access without fear for undocumented Torontonians.
Well, we don’t think so. And we are pretty sure neither do you.
Join a broad range of grassroots Toronto groups on May 21, 2015, at 9:30am at Toronto City Hall to insist that this report must be rejected and that the City of Toronto needs to step in and demand an end to racial profiling, and police collusion with immigration enforcement.
If you have an Access Without Fear or Solidarity City t-shirt, please wear it. Otherwise, yellow, red and black are beautiful colours to rock on that day.
Racist policing, particularly the practice of carding means that Toronto Police regularly stops Black and Brown people in the city of Toronto. When Police do a warrant search or call immigration, and learn that the person does not have immigration status, they are handed over to immigration enforcement and often swiftly deported.
Similarly, when racialized people call the police, sometimes the Police will ID everyone involved, and upon finding out about someone’s lack of immigration status, hand them over to immigration enforcement.
Thus the vast number of deportations that take place – about 30 people every day or over 10,000 each year just in Toronto – take place as a result of Toronto Police’s actions.
In 2005-06, a community coalition fought at the Toronto Police Services Board after a Grenadian woman pressing charges about her sexual assault was arrested by police and handed over to immigration enforcement. Immigration Enforcement scheduled her deportation for the same day she was to testify against her assailant. Community pressure stopped her deportation, and forced Toronto Police to pass a policy under which Toronto Police is not supposed to inquire about immigration status of victims and witnesses of crime unless there is a bonafide reason to do.
This policy is largely useless. We know that when Black, Brown and often other racialized people are approached by police, we are not seen as victims, we are seen as criminals. As recently as 2011, Lilliana Fontes was forced to fight off her deportation after police discovered her lack of immigration status while investigating her ex-partner for domestic abuse and called immigration enforcement.
In February 2013, many groups under the umbrella of Solidarity City Network fought to get Toronto declared a Sanctuary City, the first such win in Canada. Under this policy, all city services must be accessible to residents regardless of immigration status. As part of this policy, the City asked the Toronto Police Services Board to be in compliance with the access without fear policy. Instead of changing their internal systems, the Police board now insists that it is in compliance.
It is important that we show up in force at CDRC to reject this report, and ask the City to demand that Toronto Police end racial profiling and working with immigration enforcement. Already, the City of Toronto is distributing postcards to service providers across the City that says that Toronto Police is accessible to undocumented residents, which puts many people at grave risk of deportation.
h/t Marvin, from newsletter