Thursday 29 December 2022

Joint Statement Regarding Christmas Day Death in Detention

We are angry and saddened, but not surprised, to learn of the death on Christmas Day of another person in Canada Border Services Agency detention. This death took place at the newly built immigration detention centre in Surrey. As long as the CBSA continues to detain migrants, deaths in detention will continue.

In the CBSA's statement, which does not share any information about the cause of death, the CBSA said that “The health and safety of those in our care is of paramount importance to the CBSA. We take this responsibility very seriously.” The interactions that we see of CBSA with migrants every day show that their statement is a lie: the only thing that is of paramount importance to CBSA is meeting their cruel quotas by deporting migrants as quickly as possible.

This death on Christmas Day exposes the numbers of immigrants, including children, who are detained in Canada. Between April 2019 and March 2020, there were 8,825 people detained between the ages of 15 and 83. In the same period, another 136 children were “housed” in detention with their detained parents, including 73 under age 6. Since 2016, Canada has held more than 300 immigration detainees for longer than a year because there is no legal limit to the length of time the CBSA can detain immigrants in Canada.

Since 2000, at least 17 people have died in immigration detention, with at least six deaths since 2016. In 2014, on Coast Salish Territories, the community had to fight for an inquest to get all the details of the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez, a Mexican national without status in Canada: from the transit police office who called CBSA because she had an accent, to the CBSA officer who introduced himself as a “liaison” and used her answers against her in her detention review hearing, to the private security guard playing video games while she died.

These tragedies reinforce our strong commitment and our resolve to fight for an end to immigration detentions and deportations for good. We join the voices of End Immigration Detention Network, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Canada who have called for an end to immigration detention. In our Campaign for Regularization and Status for All, we also raise the calls to Stop the Detentions! Stop the Deportations!

Migrating is not a crime

No more detentions and incarcerations

No more deportaciĆ³ns

No more deaths

29 December 2022 

Signed by: 

Migrante BC
Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA)Isla
Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA) Okanagan
Sanctuary Health
Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR)