Toronto And Hamilton To Be “Sanctuary Cities”

by Terry Wilson
Canadian Awareness Network
February 25, 2013

On Thursday February 21 2013, Toronto became Canada’s first “Sanctuary city”.

Toronto declared “sanctuary city” to non-status migrants
By: Nicholas Keung, thestar.com

Toronto has made history by affirming itself as a “sanctuary city,” the first Canadian city with a formal policy allowing undocumented migrants to access services regardless of immigration status.

On Thursday, City Council passed the motion by a vote of 37 to 3 that also requires training all city staff and managers to ensure Toronto’s estimated 200,000 non-status residents can access its services without fear of being turned over to border enforcement officers for detention and deportation.

The vote puts Toronto in the same league with 36 American cities, including Chicago, New York City and San Francisco that already have such policies. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and councillors Denzil Minnan-Wong and David Shiner are the only council members who voted against the motion.

“It is an enormous step for the city in the right direction. We are all contributing to the city, the well-being of Toronto. It’s important that we are not making a distinction between those who don’t have rights or access to services and those who do,” said Harald Bauder, associate professor of Ryerson University’s graduate program in immigration and settlement studies.

“Distinctions are divisive. They establish second-class citizens. That leads to all kinds of other problems, not just a rift in the community, but other issues of exploitation.”

Council’s vote was significant at a time when the undocumented population is expected to surge in 2015, when many legal but temporary foreign workers will see their four-year work permits expire under a new federal law and potentially move “underground.”
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Then by Saturday February 23 2013, Hamilton city Councillor Brian McHattie stated he will take steps to make it happen here.

Should Hamilton be a ‘sanctuary’ city?
By: Nicole O’Reilly thespec.com

Councillor Brian McHattie says he’d like to see Hamilton follow in the footsteps of Toronto and declare this city a “sanctuary” to allow undocumented migrants to access services regardless of their immigration or refugee status.

Toronto became the first Canadian city to approve such a formal policy on Thursday, following 36 cities in the United States.

Now McHattie, a member of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, said he will take steps to make it happen here.

“It’s absolutely a good idea,” he said. “Hamilton has a great reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees who come to Canada.”

He plans to speak with the city’s community services department and include social services agencies and experts in the discussion.

Councillor Chad Collins, who represents a very large, diverse population in Ward 5, said he’s never received complaints from residents who say they can’t access city services because of their immigration or refugee status.

Toronto and possibly Hamilton, will be turning a blind eye to illegal immigration? Offering public services to people people who are in these cities illegally? I have no issue with allowing immigrants into our nation, in fact the vast majority of Canadians are immigrants of come from a family who migrated here in the past. Our diversity is part of what makes this nation so wonderful. But allowing undocumented workers/people enjoy all of the services that we have become debt slaves to pay for, is taking things way too far!

The Toronto Star mentioned the 36 American sanctuary cities, but left out some crucial information. The cities who have adopted these open regulations have received major “blow back”. A 2011 poll found that 59% supported Rep. Lou Barletta’s proposal to remove federal funding to sanctuary cities and 58% wanted the Justice Department to take actions against such cities.

The state of Georgia went as far as signing a pre-emptive law, preventing the sanctuary cities. The law withholds state funding from any local government that adopts a sanctuary policy.

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