TRANSPORTATION NOT DEPORTATION CAMPAIGN FORCES TRANSIT POLICE TO TERMINATE AGREEMENT WITH CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY
Friday February 20, Vancouver
“This afternoon, Transit Police informed representatives of the Transportation not Deportation campaign that they will terminate their Memorandum of Understanding with CBSA, that officers must receive permission from a Watch Commander to initiate contact with CBSA, and that they will not detain people without warrants for items that are simply contravention of immigration law,” confirms Omar Chu of Transportation not Deportation.
Since 2007, Transit Police and the Pacific Region Enforcement Center of CBSA have had a Memorandum of Understanding. Transit Police reported three hundred and twenty eight people to Canada Border Services Agency in 2013, one in five of whom faced a subsequent immigration investigation including deportation. Only 1.5% of all those referred to CBSA even had immigration warrants out. From November 2012 to January 2013, Transit police made had more referrals to CBSA than any other BC police force including the VPD and RCMP.
One of these people was Mexican migrant and hotel worker Lucia Vega Jiménez, who later committed suicide while in CBSA custody. At the coroner’s inquest into her death, a Transit Police officer testified that he turned Lucia over to Canada Border Services Agency, in part, because Lucia had an accent and that he believed “she wasn’t originally from Canada.”
“Public transit is not be a border checkpoint. This MOU should never have been in place but now as a direct result of grassroots community mobilizing including forty organizations and over 1500 people demanding an end to Transit Police and CBSA collaboration, Transit police will not be enforcing federal immigration policy,” says Harsha Walia of Transportation not Deportation.
The Transportation not Deportation! campaign will continue with our intention to flood the Transit Police board meeting on Friday, February 27th to ensure implementation of this policy that keeps public transportation free from immigration policy enforcement.
Transportation not Deportation is a community campaign calling for an immediate end to Translink and Transit police collaboration with Canada Border Services Agency. Everyone deserves access to public transportation without fear of being criminalized, abused, detained, and deported.