“THIS afternoon, Transit Police informed representatives of the Transportation Not Deportation Campaign that they will terminate their memorandum of understanding with the Canada Border Services Agency (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,” Omar Chu of the Transportation Not
Deportation Campaign announced on Friday.
Every day in the Greater Vancouver area at various SkyTrain stations and bus stops, Transit Police racially profile people of colour and subsequently turn migrants over to the CBSA. Transit Police reported 328 people to the CBSA in 2013, one in five of whom faced a subsequent immigration investigation including deportation. Only 1.5% of all those referred to the CBSA even had immigration warrants out.
From November 2012 to January 2013, Transit Police made had more referrals to the CBSA than any other BC police force including the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP. One of these people was Mexican migrant and hotel worker Lucia Vega Jimenez, who later committed suicide while in the CBSA custody. At the coroner’s inquest into her death, a Transit Police officer testified that he turned her over to the CBSA in part because she had an accent and that he believed “she wasn’t originally from Canada.”
“Public transit is not a border checkpoint. This MOU should never have been in place but now as a direct result of grassroots community mobilizing including 40 organizations and over 1,500 people demanding an end to Transit Police and the CBSA collaboration, Transit Police will not be enforcing federal immigration policy,” says Harsha Walia of the Transportation Not Deportation Campaign.
The Transportation Not Deportation Campaign will continue with their plan to flood the Transit Police board meeting on Friday, February 27 to ensure implementation of public transportation that is free from immigration policy enforcement.
Transportation Not Deportation is a community campaign calling for an immediate end to TransLink and Transit Police collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency. Everyone deserves access to public transportation without fear of being criminalized, abused, detained, and deported.