More than 200 migrants from Toronto and other parts of Ontario came to Hamilton on Monday to call on Prime Minister Trudeau for a “regularization program” – permanent resident status for all undocumented people.
Trudeau was in Hamilton at a cabinet retreat at the time.
At a rally organized by the Migrant Rights Network (MRN), demonstrators, including refugees, international students and caregivers, stood outside the Sheraton Hotel and the Hamilton Convention Centre chanting “Status for all.”
Addressing the rally, Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, said that “a fair society is one with equal rights.
“And equal rights are only possible if everyone has the same immigration status.”
“We expect Prime Minister Trudeau to keep his promise and regularize all undocumented people in Canada,” Hussan added.
Trudeau had promised a regularization program in December 2021.
Also addressing the rally was Florence Gerald, a refugee from Kenya who is now facing deportation.
She said she was denied medical attention because she did not have a health card.
“How is this right?” she asked
“We want to live a dignified life just like any other Canadian, she added.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has announced that the government is expanding a permanent resident pilot program for out-of-status construction workers in the Great Toronto Area.
Activists say nearly half a million migrants are living in Canada without any immigration documents, and that the precarious immigration status leaves immigrants in vulnerable situations that can lead to labour exploitation or put their lives at risk. The immigration system they say “is designed to keep us permanently temporary.”
Photos by Constanza Duran