According to a Toronto Star article, migrant workers say they endured modern-day slavery in Simcoe County. For over a month, Francisco Urbina Contreras lived in an infested house in Barrie with 30 other Mexican men and women "who were drawn to Canada by the promise of jobs." The former small business owner from northern Mexico faced bed bugs underneath his foam mattress, an unheated attic he shared with four others and the long wait for one of two bathrooms at the Dunlop St. home.
"This is not what we came to this country for, to live and work like animals."
"After decades of struggle, the Federal government has announced that migrant Care Workers will have work permits that will allow them to change jobs in the sector, rather than being tied to a single employer. Unlike before, the government has promised that migrant Care Workers will be able to come to Canada with their spouses and children on open work and study permits.
However, an Interim Program has been created based on Care Worker pressure to give permanent resident status to thousands of women who were excluded because of recent unfair rules. But the program is small, and does not include everyone. Care Workers will fight to ensure that as many workers as possible in Canada get their rights.
A New Caregiver Program has just been announced, but we have few details. We don’t know when it will begin, what the requirements will be, and if it will have some regressive steps back. Care Workers will keep watch. For that too, they need your support."
- Migrant Workers Alliance and the Landed Status Now Campaign
New research on the impact of Texas demanding local law enforcement to work with federal immigration individuals found:
They also determined that fears of deportation and family separation negatively impact child and family health.
They propose a public health approach to local law enforcement practices, in order to make sure the health and safety of Rio Grande Valley children and families stay protected.
A study by researchers at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health examined the premature birth rate in NYC within US-born and immigrant mothers before and after the 2016 presidential election. The researchers decided to study birth rates as they can reflect population health. Risk factors for premature birth include stress and trauma.
"The new study found rates of preterm births overall have gone up since the election, but the trend is being driven by immigrant groups targeted by the Trump administration, especially Latinas. Non-Hispanic white women born in the US in the same period saw their premature birth rates go down slightly."
An opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail by Y.Y. Brandon Chen, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, highlights how we must not exclude irregular migrants from healthcare.
Currently, people residing in Canada with irregular legal status are typically not able to access any health benefits and are required to cover the cost of health necessities and emergencies themselves or depend on charities.
Mr. Chen conveys that "people who are often mislabelled as 'illegals' are actually a diverse group and their life situations are typically much more nuanced than what the simplistic label conveys. Most irregular migrants in Canada have had permission to be here at one point and only fell out of such legal status some time later."
The federal government is reviewing a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee that says Canada violated the rights of Neil Toussaint, an undocumented irregular migrant, by denying her crucial health care.
The UN Human Rights committee determined in its ruling that "under the optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even illegal aliens have an inherent right to life."
The committee's decision said: "Member states cannot make a distinction, for the purposes of respecting and promoting the right to life, between regular and irregular migrants."
They ruled Canada should provide Toussaint "adequate compensation for the harm she suffered," and "review its national legislation to ensure that irregular migrants have access to health care."
In an article published in the Knowable Magazine, occupational health researcher Marc Schenker of UC Davis discusses the hazards and potential solutions to address why migrants are especially vulnerable to workplace injuries. Schenker describes how the power imbalance between employers and immigrant workers, who have few rights, forces migrants to take risks that put their health in danger. He states several migrant workers lack access to health care since nations restrict the benefits they can receive, or workers are afraid to claim existing services.
"In the United States, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that immigrant workers were 15 percent more likely to be fatally injured on the job than those who were native-born."
For many people people in Ontario, lack of accessible healthcare is related to their immigration status. According to a Healthy Debate article, around 500,000 people living in Ontario do not have access to OHIP, the government’s health insurance plan for residents of Ontario. Those without any official immigration status in Canada have no access to OHIP.
For example, in 2015, "among those without insurance were 89,000 newly landed permanent residents (who go without OHIP for three months); some 85,000 temporary workers (who similarly go at least three months without OHIP, and longer depending on their work situation); and almost 54,000 international students (both post-secondary and younger), who have no access to OHIP at all."
Daniel Trilling's article in The Guardian outlines the "dangerous new development in European politics." Trilling states that "until now, the effort to filter out and deter unwanted migrants from reaching Europe has generally been pursued by politicians of the liberal centre, and part of their justification for doing it is that these unpleasant but necessary policies will stave off a rightwing populist backlash."
He claims that when far-right politicians, such as Italy’s Matteo Salvini, gain positions of power in numerous nations, their influence becomes real. Their goal, "rather than to make a perceived problem go away, is to deliberately stoke a sense of crisis and panic, to frame this form of migration as an existential threat to Europe."
CBC News reports that in the past 14 months, Algeria has abandoned over 13,000 people in the Sahara Desert.
The migrants are from sub-Saharan African - Mali, the Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger and more - that are heading toward Europe, some are escaping violence, while others are simply hoping to make a living. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports "for every migrant known to have died crossing the Mediterranean, as many as two are lost in the desert — potentially upwards of 30,000 people since 2014."
Applied research Advocacy