Support Fredericton becoming a sanctuary city
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In the interests of human dignity for all people, we affirm our support for an access without fear policy in the City of Fredericton, so that Fredericton can count itself among the growing list of Canadian cities that are sanctuary cities: Toronto, Hamilton, London, Vancouver, which are likely to be joined soon by Ottawa, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg.
A sanctuary city is a place where all residents, including those with uncertain or no immigration status, have full rights to city-administered services without fear, also known as “access without fear.”
As part of a sanctuary city policy, we ask that our city not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Immigration enforcement is under federal jurisdiction, and there is no need for municipal staff to perform or assist immigration enforcement activities. We call on city employees to refrain from providing information on any resident’s personal status to federal immigration enforcement agencies. We urge that the municipal staff offer city-administered services with no questions asked to any residents who might be at risk of detention or deportation. We ask that the city provide training and revise its policies in an effort to prevent discrimination based on immigration status. Such policies can be set out expressly in law or simply observed in practice. Denying services on account of a person’s country of origin is discriminatory, and is contrary to both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the provincial human rights law. Discrimination on the basis of immigration status should be considered a violation of these laws.
Globally, there are over 21 million refugees, and over 40 million people internally displaced by natural or human-made disasters, or by industrial projects. In addition, many more people find themselves unable to survive where they are, and are required by economic necessity to seek a better life elsewhere. The recent immigration policy changes in the US will require more cities in other nations to act as sanctuary cities, and Canadian cities must be among them.
Fredericton has already demonstrated its concern for the global refugee crisis by accepting more refugees per capita than any other city in Canada. Many individuals, service providers and social justice and faith-based groups have been working together with pride and love, building the skills and resources for meeting this challenge. Our community is ready to take the next step: status as a sanctuary city.
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