Let Lucy Stay: “Lights for Lucy” vigil held at Fredericton City Hall

“There are no windows. I want to see the light. I want to breathe. I don’t even know what my name is any more.” – Lucy Francineth Granados

Last night, April 10, “Lights for Lucy” vigils occurred in many communities including in Fredericton, New Brunswick. St. Thomas University students made signs and newcomer youth joined us on the steps of City Hall to demand that Lucy Granados, a mother of three and community organizer for the rights of undocumented women and workers in Montreal, be allowed to stay in Canada. Lucy’s deportation hearing is scheduled on April 13. 

At the vigil, speeches were delivered by community members, including Dr. Gül Çaliskan, an organizer with No One Is Illegal Fredericton and a professor of sociology at St. Thomas University.

Read her speech below:

Can we chant for Lucy? Let Lucy Stay!
We are here today because we dream of a better world—a world without borders, without the systems that force people to leave their homes.
A world where there is justice and dignity for migrants; a world where indigenous peoples have self-determination.
A world where those wishing to return to places they have left can do so.
It is a world where the state does not separate people into geographic territories.
This world might seem so far away.
But I can see it. Can’t you? We have no choice but to continue to dream that world.
Because, this world we envision puts a mirror for us to see this land.
Half a million of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, peers, and community members are undocumented in this land that we presently call Canada.
Even now, tens of thousands of refugees await decisions on their cases.
Nearly a hundred thousand migrant workers work in dangerous and difficult conditions.
Hundreds of people face indefinite periods of detention.
Nearly 100,000 migrants in Canada have been jailed without charge. Migrants are the only population of people in Canada who can be jailed on administrative grounds, without ever being charged with a specific criminal offense. That punishment is inflicted on up to 807 children per year.
Segregation is a legally recognized form of torture, and it must end.
In 2017, over 20,000 people entered Canada overland, escaping Trump’s America. They have access to few services, they lack full status, and they face possible deportation.
In the face of these challenges, communities across Canada are fighting back, as they envision the possibility of another world.
In dozens of places across the country, directly affected people and organizers are struggling for dignity.
The non-status women are organizing in Montreal.
We struggle to stop individual deportations (Lucy and Abdoul are only two of them).
Caregivers fight to stop the upcoming program closure that might deny status to thousands of workers.
Like many communities in cities across the country, in our city we are working to nurture a culture of commitment to reducing barriers and to accessing services for migrants who have precarious status or no immigration status.
We dream that future world, and so we demand full access to dignity, rights, and services for all people, regardless of immigration status, with a clear and consistent anti-colonial perspective. That commitment takes us a few steps closer to the world we dream of.
We will continue to hold that vision that feels so far away, yet so near.

Today, we say LET LUCY STAY.
Every day, we will demand, NO MORE DETENTIONS. STATUS FOR ALL, STATUS NOW!

 

About Lucy: 

Lucy Francineth Granados is a single mother, the sole supporter of her three children, and is known in her community as an advocate for the rights of women, undocumented migrants and temporary workers. She has made Montreal her home for the last nine years and is dear to so many of us.
Since four Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) agents violently arrested her on Tuesday March 20th, leaving her with a badly injured arm, Lucy has been treated with violence and total inhumanity by the CBSA. Lack of sleep, fear, confusion and the appalling conditions of her detention following her arrest led to two emergency hospitalizations, on the 26th and on the 29th.
Lucy originally left Guatemala after being threatened by maras (criminal gangs which spread to Central American countries from the United States). She traveled alone through Mexico on the infamous La Bestia train to the US and later to Canada, her husband having died. If Lucy were deported, her children would immediately lose their sole source of financial support.
Last year she filed a humanitarian application for permanent residence in an attempt to regularize her status. This is when she came to the attention of the CBSA who then sought to arrest her before her file could even be studied by Immigration Canada. Lucy’s attempt to regularize her status made her a target for the CBSA.

 

Lucy’s supporters are encouraged to: 

Share any of these images (https://www.facebook.com/pg/NoOneIsIllegalFredericton/photos/?tab=album&album_id=623491081320222) on social media using the hashtag #LetLucyStay and tag Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
On Twitter: @AhmedDHussen & @RalphGoodale
On Facebook: @AhmedHussenLib & @ralphgoodale

Call or write Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (dial 613-995-0777, 613-954-1064 and 416-656-2526 or write to Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca and minister@cic.gc.ca) and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (call 613-947-1153, 306-585-2202 and 613-991-2924, email ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca and Hon.ralph.goodale@canada.ca). Copy Fredericton MP Matt Decourcey (matt.decourcey@parl.gc.ca). Ask them them to stay Lucy’s deportation until her application for permanent residence on humanitarian grounds is decided.

Sign the petition to Let Lucy Stay here. 

 

 

Resourced by the NB MediaCo-op, Change.org petition

End immigration detention: No One Is Illegal Fredericton

On July 26, 2016, No One Is Illegal Fredericton wrote Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety, to demand an end to immigration detention. Read the letter here. Six months later, on January 15, 2017, Minister Goodale responded. Read his reply here.

On January 18, 2017, No One Is Illegal Fredericton wrote to Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey reiterating concerns over Canada’s immigration detention system. Read the letter here.  DeCourcey responded on March 8, 2017. Read his reply here.

Sixteen people have died in immigration detention since the year 2000 — four of them died in maximum security prisons in Ontario since No One Is Illegal Fredericton wrote our letter to Minister Goodale. The Toronto Immigration Holding Centre and other immigration detention centres are being expanded. The Toronto Star reported on February 23, 2017 that an average of 48 children are held in Canadian immigration detention every year.

More information at: www.endimmigrationdetention.com

Letter to MP Matt DeCourcey concerning Immigration Detention

The following is an open letter from our collective addressed to MP Matt DeCourcey. For the purposes of transparency, we have attached this letter in full. 

For more information on immigration detention, please see the End Immigration Detention Network

No One is Illegal Fredericton

January 18, 2017

Matt DeCourcey, Member of Parliament, Fredericton

494 Queen St., Suite 300, Fredericton, NB E3B 6J4

Dear Hon. Mr. DeCourcey,

We last met on April 4, 2017, hand-delivering a letter to you about our concerns related to Canada’s immigration policies. Refugees Welcome Fredericton is now a working group of No One Is Illegal Fredericton. No One Is Illegal is an organization that exists in other cities across Canada and is devoted to issues associated with migrant justice.

Since we spoke with you on that chilly April day outside your office, a number of developments have taken place. Over the course of 2016, there were three hunger strikes by immigration detainees in Lindsay and Toronto, Ontario detention centres, the largest taking place in July 2016, when over 50 detainees refused food. Detainees opposed indefinite detention, the fact that immigration detainees can be detained with no charges, and the conditions they endure while detained. Since 2000, fifteen people have died while in Canadian immigration detention; three people in 2016 alone.

The brave actions of those on hunger strike drew public, activist, and media attention to the continuing treatment of immigration detainees within Canada. Disappointingly, the federal government’s response to these actions was the announcement of an additional $138 million for new or existing detention facilities in Quebec and British Columbia. The response ignored the significant and troubling issues brought forward by immigration detainees and their supporters.

Given that the conditions associated with immigration detention in Canada are deeply troubling, we believe that it is important that the government first consider all alternatives to immigration detention. Through the current system, immigration detainees are jailed for weeks, months or even many years due to flaws with their identification, their status as “irregular arrivals” or simply put in prison as a secure holding place where they await deportation. Detention should be a last resort or a response to exceptional circumstances, not public policy. This sort of action runs counter to Canada’s treatment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. We believe that the government needs to weigh concerns regarding the deprivation of individual liberty for little (or no) gain. At its core, this treatment runs counter to the spirit of Canadian multicultural policy, social justice and is both fundamentally discriminatory and racist.

No One is Illegal Fredericton echoes the following changes demanded by immigration detainees and their supporters across the country: 

  •  An end to arbitrary and indefinite detention: If removal cannot happen within 90 days, immigration detainees must be released. Limits on detention periods are recommended by the United Nations, and are the law in the United States and the European Union.
  • Release all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days .
  • No maximum security holds: Immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails; must have access to basic services and be close to family members.
  • Overhaul of the adjudication process: Give migrants fair and full access to judicial review, legal aid, bail programs and pro bono representation.

We understand that the government is reviewing the immigrant detention process. We would like to know the status of this review and ask that you support calls to end the inhumane detentions of immigrants and refugees.

We appreciate a response to our concerns by February 1, 2017, and will gladly meet with you to further discuss these urgent matters.

Sincerely,

Asaf Rashid, Kristi Allain, Tracy Glynn (and the rest of the No One Is Illegal – Fredericton Collective)