"Sanctuary city" proposal among dozens of policies to be considered by COPE members

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      Members of the Coalition of Progressive Electors will vote this weekend on whether to include a “sanctuary city” policy in their platform for the 2014 election.

      The idea reflects similar policies adopted in Toronto and Hamilton, according to Daniel Tseghay, who submitted the proposal.

      “Recent changes to federal immigration policy create barriers for migrants in accessing official refugee, resident, or citizen statuses,” the motion reads.

      “There is an increasing number of 'precarious status' – non-status or temporary status – individuals in Vancouver. Such residents experience worse living and labour conditions while being routinely denied access to crucial social services.”

      The policy proposal calls for the city to ensure access to basic services for all Vancouver residents, regardless of immigration status, and for city workers not to ask about a resident’s status or report it to immigration authorities.

      “The city needs to have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy, where service providers will not ask for immigration status, and if they find it, they won’t share it with anybody,” Tseghay told the Straight.

      “We need to make schools sanctuary zones, where children can go to school without the threat that their parents might be found out and deported.”

      Tseghay said changes to immigration policies are resulting in a “two-tiered system”, in which some people fear they could be picked up and deported by authorities if they try to access services.

      “We should become a city where migrants aren’t afraid to access very essential services,” he stated. “People are afraid to access things as basic as food banks, health care clinics, various emergency shelters, education.”

      The proposal is one of dozens that will be considered by the municipal party for its election platform at a policy conference this weekend.

      The conference will take place at the Japanese Hall on March 29 and 30.




      Mar 28, 2014 at 7:40pm

      People without status in Canada should fear being picked up by immigration authorities? How racist! That suggests that people without status intend to remain so indefinitely, that they have no plan to regularize their status by, for example, obtaining skills and qualifications equal to lawful immigrants. That implies that people without status are willing to deceive and defraud Canada. I cannot believe that. You people.

      Connie Hubbs

      Mar 29, 2014 at 8:46am

      Very interesting concept. Brings respect for basic human rights to our city.


      Mar 29, 2014 at 9:08am

      Lets help the people here legally and not add to the illegals. Make it easier for honest, law abiding immigrants to come to Canada and contribute their fair share. Encouraging the sheltering of illegals does not help those that are here lawfully. Health, education and access to employment should require that you be here legally. Illegals working, on welfare or other assistance is just cheating the people who deserve a hand up.


      Mar 29, 2014 at 11:54am

      Why not put forth a policy to help those who respect the system and don't expect special status? Why not put forth a policy that helps real victims?


      Mar 29, 2014 at 12:35pm

      Come to Canada - get all the handouts you want - they laugh at us! only legals should get help.


      Mar 29, 2014 at 10:43pm



      May 12, 2014 at 5:05pm

      Not having legal status in Canada does not mean migrants have no good reason why they are staying in Canada. Delays in government processing, difficulty completing the process, or the need to uproot your family are examples of why people end up in Canada without legal status. I think that circumstances like those should not prevent people - read human beings here - from accessing basic medical services and be put under added mental and physical stress just because they lack a bureaucratic status label. Ultimately, I think people who are abusing the system for prolonged periods are likely to be apprehended through much less barbaric means. Lastly, I think it's a common mistake (often made in the US by those deploring Mexican immigration) that people lacking status do not contribute to society, just take a look on the internet for information about that and I'm sure you'll find the situation is quite the opposite.


      Jul 4, 2014 at 2:22am

      Point 1. The current policy on temporary foreign worker reminds me of the Chinese workers transported to Canada over 100 year ago to build the railroad. The workers then and now are paid less, treated unfairly and at the end, being sent back to where they came from. Did they not help build this country any less than average "Canadians"?
      Point 2. In the name of all mighty "money", many have forgotten compassion. What's wrong for extending basic services in medical care, food and shelter to the people (legal or illigal) who need these services? We give them to stray dogs and cats. Do we ask them to show identification that they are "Canadian" being taken into SPCA shelters? Sure, there will be people abusing the system, but there are ways to prevent this from happening. There are always people who evade paying taxes, should we cancel all the taxes? No because we all know that taxes help build this country. The countries where people want to immigrate to is the countries with relatively higher and complete taxation system. The "Sanctuary city" is a humane and compassionate policy. Many people need to be reminded to be humane to fellow human being, be they legal or illigal and I think this policy is very much needed in our "civilized" society.