Call to Action to Stop Deportation of Laval Detainee

No to Deportations!

On Monday, March 15, Solidarity Across Borders reported that: "One month after becoming the first of several detainees to test positive for COVID-19, "Marlon", (pseudonym chosen to protect his identity), a migrant held at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, is facing imminent deportation to his country of origin. Marlon has yet to receive a negative COVID-19 test result and is still exhibiting symptoms such as fatigue and difficulty breathing. Despite this, the Canadian government is proceeding with his deportation on unusually short notice -- he was informed late on Thursday, March 11 that he would be deported on Tuesday, March 16." As of March 17 he had not been deported but the threat remains. Solidarity Across Borders has announced a "Free Them All!" Rally, to free all detainees at the Laval Centre, March 20, 11:00 am with details to be made available here

The organization reports that "Marlon contracted COVID-19 in the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, testing positive on February 15. He immediately began a hunger strike to denounce the detention conditions for migrants, which are conducive to spreading the virus among detainees and personnel. Social distancing is often impossible and guards and employees come and go from the centre, rotating on a daily basis. As a strategy to curb the spread of the virus, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) placed detainees in conditions of solitary confinement, a practice that has been denounced as a form of torture. In response, a group of seven detainees staged a courageous five-day hunger strike to demand their immediate release."

Should Marlon's deportation proceed, "he will be separated from his wife and child in Montreal, who are currently seeking refugee status after fleeing from violence in their country of origin."

More on Marlon's Situation

Tanya Rowell Katzemba, a Solidarity Across Borders spokesperson, informed the newspaper Le Devoir that "[a]ll legal channels have been exhausted. We're angered upon learning about the CBSA's intention of moving forward with his expulsion with only a few days notice. We were thinking about requesting another detention revision hearing, but then all of a sudden we got the news. We don't understand what the urgency is."

The same media source spoke with Marlon by phone. He confirmed with them that he continues to have COVID-19 symptoms and that he is awaiting the results of a test taken on March 15. He also told them, "I still get frequent headaches, my eyes hurt and I have difficulty breathing, especially when I'm sleeping." He also reported that he has not "been given any medication, nor have any of the others who have been infected, we were just placed in isolation for 14 days under deplorable conditions."

"We want Canada to respect its commitments towards the population of keeping everyone healthy and safe. Within the present context of the pandemic, it's appalling that people who fled their country because of violence continue to be deported, it's completely inhumane," Tanya Rowell Katzemba told Le Devoir, adding: "They're going to put Marlon on a plane with other people, even if he still has COVID-19 symptoms, which runs counter to public health recommendations."

Marlon, his wife and child arrived in Canada without any legal identification, having fled their country of origin in November of 2019. Marlon told the media that he had been threatened and some of his family members had been killed, "so we decided to flee the country, hoping to begin a new life in Canada."

Solidarity Across Borders is calling on everyone to:

"Put pressure on Bill Blair and all government officials to demand the immediate release of Marlon and a halt to his deportation, as well as the release of all detainees! You can direct phone calls and e-mails to:

"1) Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair
Telephone: 613-995-0284
Fax: 613-996-6309

2) Your member of Parliament, find their contact information here.

Social Media

"Share the call to action widely! Use the hashtag set #FreeThemAll #StatusForAll along with #HungerStrikeLaval to show your support for the struggle on social media! We encourage you to tag Bill Blair, Marco Mendicino, Justin Trudeau, and other government officials."

(Quotations translated from original French by Workers' Forum. Photos: WF, Solidarity Across Borders)

This article was published in

Number 18 - March 17, 2021

Article Link:
: No to Deportations!


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