On January 25, 2024, at 7:30 ET, join us for a discussion on the #WelcomeToCanada campaign to end immigration detention. In this interactive gathering, Amnesty staff and activists will share updates on ongoing efforts and tips on how to lobby government officials.
Lobbying the federal government is critical! While there have been amazing human rights victories as eight provinces have committed to ending immigration detention in their provincial jails, the federal government has not taken any steps to end immigration detention. Instead, Canada Border Service Agency has been transferring people across provinces to keep them detained. It is critical that we urge the federal government to abolish immigration detention, including by investing in rights-respecting, community-based alternatives to detention.
Cannot attend the event but interested in ending immigration detention? Click here to learn what else you can do.
Canada has detained tens of thousands of people on strictly immigration-related grounds. In 2021, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published a joint report, “I Didn’t Feel Like a Human in There”: Immigration Detention in Canada and its Impact on Mental Health, which documented serious human rights violations against people detained for immigration purposes, particularly racialized people and people with mental health conditions. Because there is no legal limit on the length of immigration detention, people can be detained indefinitely, and many people develop suicidal ideation as they lose hope. When parents are incarcerated in immigration detention, they may be separated from their children, causing further trauma and harm. At least 17 people have died in immigration detention since 2000.
Eight provinces have now sent a clear message to the federal government – that they will not allow their provincial jails to be used for immigration detention, a practice that violates international human rights standards. Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia have ended immigration detention in their provincial jails, and by July, Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario will have also ended the practice in their jails.
Instead of following the provinces’ lead, the federal government has allowed the Canada Boarder Services Agency to transfer people across provinces so that they can remain detained in jails. Join us in calling on the federal government to stop jailing asylum seekers and migrants.