UPDATE FEBRUARY 21, 2015:
TRANSPORTATION NOT DEPORTATION CAMPAIGN FORCES TRANSIT POLICE TO TERMINATE AGREEMENT WITH CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY
Friday February 20, Vancouver
“This afternoon, Transit Police informed representatives of the Transportation not Deportation campaign that they will terminate their Memorandum of Understanding with CBSA, 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,” confirms Omar Chu of Transportation not Deportation.
Since 2007, Transit Police and the Pacific Region Enforcement Center of CBSA have had a Memorandum of Understanding. 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. Only 1.5% of all those referred to CBSA even had immigration warrants out. From November 2012 to January 2013, Transit police made had more referrals to CBSA than any other BC police force including the VPD and RCMP.
One of these people was Mexican migrant and hotel worker Lucia Vega Jiménez, who later committed suicide while in CBSA custody. At the coroner’s inquest into her death, a Transit Police officer testified that he turned Lucia over to Canada Border Services Agency, in part, because Lucia had an accent and that he believed “she wasn’t originally from Canada.”
“Public transit is not be a border checkpoint. This MOU should never have been in place but now 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,” says Harsha Walia of Transportation not Deportation.
The Transportation not Deportation! campaign will continue with our intention to flood the Transit Police board meeting on Friday, February 27th to ensure implementation of this policy that keeps public transportation free from immigration policy enforcement.”
Please read, and sign on if you agree, and/or share this. The Radical Access Mapping Project totally supports the 5 demands noted below. Public transit should not be a border checkpoint, and should not come with the risk of harassment, arrest, or worse. Disability justice includes access to public transit free from racist targeting; public transit MUST be accessible for ALL.
“25 groups have signed onto Transportation not Deportation campaign. Check it and have your group endorse too if you agree with the five demands.
Not part of a group, no worries, sign and circulate this petition and help us get to 2,000 signatures that we can hammer away at the next Translink board meeting.
“We believe our public transit system should not be a border checkpoint. Translink and Transit Police should not ask for or retain immigration status information, and should they learn of someone’s immigration status they should not share that information with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).”
DEMANDS:1) End racial profiling of people on our public transit system and ensure access without fear of criminalization or deportation to all residents.2) Terminate the Memorandum of Understanding between Transit Police and CBSA.
3) Stop turning people over to CBSA and stop enforcing federal immigration law, particularly given that most Transit Police referrals to CBSA are for situations where no warrant even exists.
4) Ensure that a range of identification is accepted as sufficient to verify identity when needed.
5) Remove CBSA phone numbers as well as all immigration-related databases from Translink and Transit Police databases.
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[Re Image Descriptions. 2 different images may come up when accessing the post.
1) a play on a vancouver area bus ticket, a white background with salmon coloured patches, and black text which reads:
Referrals to CBSA, 2013: 328
(in a coloured arrow) 1 in 5 resulted in an immigration investigation”
2) A comic style drawing of a gun pointing at a line of people of different colours standing inside a stylized bus; the folks of colour have their hands in the air a la “surrender”, while the white peoples’ hands are down. There is a Trans Link logo to the side. The text reads: “FAIR CHECK?”