Kingston is home to over 120,000 residents, some of whom lack immigration documentation. The majority of undocumented people and their families enter the country through authorized channels. They may have entered as a refugee claimant, or with a valid visa as a student, temporary foreign worker or visitor. In some cases, undocumented persons pay money to be smuggled into the country in search of safety or a better life for themselves and their family. In several cases, undocumented people face dangerous realities in their countries of origin.
Many barriers limit undocumented people’s access to healthcare, education, income support, employment protection, housing, settlement services, social assistance and legal services. Studies reveal that undocumented people suffer from high levels of anxiety, depression and chronic stress. They also experience feelings of worthlessness, fear of deportation, distrust of authority, isolation from family, and a sense of disconnection from society.
Meanwhile, undocumented people are our friends and neighbours – they are children in school with our children, they attend religious services with us, they work in local businesses, farms, restaurants and stores. This is not an issue about “outsiders”; it is about Kingston residents.
We endorse the passing of an Access without Fear motion by the City of Kingston. An Access without Fear policy should include the following provisions:
- Municipal services provided to all residents regardless of their immigration status;
- City staff delivering municipal services prioritizing dignity by not inquiring about nor keeping records pertaining to a person’s immigration status;
- City staff not contacting the police or the Canada Border Services Agency regarding someone’s immigration status.
An Access without Fear policy would foster a humane, welcoming, and supportive community for all residents of Kingston, making our community safer, healthier and stronger.
For the Executive Committee
Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901
See the full letter Solidarity Kingston.