Actions Against the Long-Term/Indefinite Detention of Immigrants in Canada

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There is an ongoing campaign taking place in Canada against the long-term/indefinite detention of immigrants who were found to have an “illegal”/irregular/undocumented immigration status (including those that were denied asylum). These protests are being undertaken by 191 detainees of the Central East Correctional Center, Lindsay, Ontario (who are currently on hunger strike) and are they supported by the group “End Immigration Detention”. Their website documents the various events that they are undertaking in support of these migrants, from protests outside the detention centers to solidarity fasts.

The migrants and their supporters have called for the release of all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days. They argue that if the removal of migrant detainees from the State cannot happen within 90 days they must be released. Secondly, they argue that immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails, they should have access to basic services, and be close to family members. Lastly, they call for the provision of full access to legal aid, bail programs, and pro bono representation.

The practice of detaining migrants indefinitely and forcing them to remain in a limbo-like-reality is unfortunately a common practice that occurs in many countries, including Ireland. In a similar vein, the Irish Refugee Council is currently calling for an end to the Direct Provision system in Ireland. Although these centers (where those claiming asylum reside) are not prisons, similar issues face these migrants in Ireland as those in Canada. These people must remain in these centers for many years awaiting a decision on their asylum application. The Irish Refugee Council are calling for the State to permit those that are in the country for more than 6 months permission to work and live independently.

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