VANCOUVER – A new multimedia project sheds light on the drastically changed landscape for immigrants under the Stephen Harper Conservative government.
Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration ( http://www.neverhome.ca) pieces together nine years of Conservative immigration and refugee policy changes to paint a dramatic picture of unfair exclusions.
According to Harsha Walia, report co-author “Permanent residency for refugees, skilled workers and family members is being curtailed, citizenship is becoming harder to get and easier to lose, but the migrant worker program is exploding. The Conservative government boasts about ‘fixing’ the immigration system but they have actually eliminated immigration. Making immigration more temporary, exclusionary and exploitative is, in fact, discriminatory.”
Hessed Torres, a certified nurse who came to Canada as a Live-in Caregiver featured in one of the videos, asks: “Am I not deserving to be paid correctly? Is it that I am not Canadian?”
Never Home features a 10,000-word report, seven video interviews with refugees, migrant workers, and citizens on the impacts of recent policy changes; and high-impact infographics.
“Immigration and refugee policy is a confusing jigsaw and understanding the overall impact of the many changes has been difficult. The picture that emerges from our research and the stories that are shared is devastating. Never Home is a thorough challenge to the federal government’s claims to a fair and efficient immigration and refugee policy,” says report co-author Omar Chu.
Key findings from Never Home include:
1) Between 2006 and 2011, the number of family-class immigrants dropped 20 percent, while the number of accepted refugees dropped 30 percent.
2) Number of non-permanent residents who entered Canada in 2013 (460,663 persons) exceeded the number of those who landed as or became permanent immigrants (258,953 persons).
3) Between 2006 and 2014, 87,317 migrants were jailed without charge. In one year alone, between 2009 and 2010, 807 migrant and Canadian children were behind bars.
Multilingual summaries of the report are being distributed in immigrant communities in British Columbia and Ontario. “All the political parties are trying to grab the immigrant vote, but none are ensuring permanent residency rights,” explains Sozan Savehilaghi of No One Is Illegal. “This project provides immigrants with the information they need to demand the changes we deserve.”