We have been deeply shaken by the Islamophobic events taking place across North America this past week, from the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” to the devastating attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. We are appalled by the Trump administration’s decision to close the American border to refugees.
We must not be silent. We must all stand in solidarity with those facing immediate violence in our communities.
Islamophobia, imperialist wars, refugee crises, anti-Black racism, colonialism and the global attack on the working class are interlinked. Our only option is to organize and to mount resistance in a way that connects our histories and struggles. There is a role for each of us to play in forming that resistance – in our workplaces, unions, homes and communities.
In the words of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, who took strike action to oppose Trump’s ban last weekend, “we are the wretched, the tired, the hungry, the poor. We will not be divided.”
CUPE Ontario joins our labour and community allies in demanding that the Canadian government immediately take the following steps to address the violence being faced by refugees, racialized Muslim and other marginalized communities across North America:
- The Canadian government must make an immediate public condemnation of the executive order by President Trump that bans Muslim visa-holders from entering the U.S.
- Canada must immediately open the Canada-USA border. This includes revocation of the Safe Third Country Agreement which bars most refugee claimants from entering from the United States over land to claim asylum in Canada. The Designated Country of Origin list, which makes it almost impossible for US citizens and citizens of 40 other countries to claim asylum in Canada, must be eliminated.
- Canada must end racist, anti-refugee, anti-Black, Islamophobic exclusion of migrants and refugees within this colonial border. This includes ending the system of indefinite immigration detention. The federal government must create a regularization program so that all undocumented residents can live here with their families rather than fear mass deportation. Migrant workers in Canada must also be given permanent status and open work permits. We need real – not symbolic – sanctuaries that guarantee access to services and refuse collaboration with Canadian and American border agents.
- Canada must rescind all federal legislation that attacks racialized Black and Brown Muslims and refugees, including the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act as well as anti-terror legislation such as Security Certificates and Bill C51.
CUPE Ontario has officially endorsed the National Days of Action Against Islamophobia and White Supremacy, and we urge all our members to participate.
We also call on all members to take action against racism and Islamophobia by signing this petition to rescind the Safe Third Country Agreement and by joining protests happening in your community with your fellow union members and co-workers.