“Canadian Immigration Holding Centre (CIHC)”
by Muhammed Sillah
July 22, 2013
This holding centre for immigrants, refugees and immigrant children which is situation on Rexdale is commonly known to the detainees as the “Indian Holding Centre” because the guards are mostly India, very rampant among the rest of the guards and are causing depression among detainees.
This holding centre is managed by G4S security guards who are rampant and abusive in their service and I am among others who are frequently abused when searched but we are to adhere to these guards at all times or else. We are constantly threatened to be obedient to these guards and if we dare fail to adhere to them, we would be transferred to jail where criminals are kept. These guards are cocky in their jobs and do not listen to the demands of detainees at all. They walk in and out of the rooms of detainees even when they change clothing or during prayer times where there is a need for respect of privacy. They never speak but yell at detainees anytime there is contact between us. They bang at doors and repeatedly yell at a time for anything like waking up time, breakfast time, lunch time, and dinner time. These guards are supervised limitedly or with no supervision from CBSA officials. They create for them rules that favour their mood. CBSA do have guidelines for these security personnel but their job is not supervised to ensure that the rights of the detainees are upheld within the premises at all times. It’s is well known to detainees that every security guard and supervisor have their own regulation which is causing mixed feelings, high blood pressure and confusion among detainees.
Detainees expect to be treated with dignity and respect but should that be in any practice, there will never be more frustration of detainees who are already frustrated by the unlawful detention by CBSA who are as hungry as ever to remove immigrants without proper assessment in result to the reforms of Mr. Kenney. Some detainees are released before the usual 48 hour detention review upon arrest and having paid very high release bonds and performance bonds three times more than the release bond because there’s reasonable belief that their arrest and detention was unlawful.
Detainees are typically handled as criminals and this include the transfer or immigrant and refugees places outside this center like hospitals where there is a violation of their rights where shackles are place on the feet of detainees. Detainees who require emergency medical attention are transferred with shackles on them hereby causing quite the criminal attention and impression on them from the public. There is a very useless medical practitioner at this facility and every detainee refers to them as Tylenol doctors. These Tylenol doctors do treat people but 90% of the time would recommend Tylenol only to all sick detainees even though there is medical insurance entitled to detainees they are sometimes advised to order their own medication: medication from families and friends outside of the facility.
The refugee boards stands to protect the rights of privileges of detainees which the CBSA must also abide by but the refugee protection act is clearly abused by CBSA when detainees are re-arrest when there is a bond still in affect under their name without any violation to it and there is no removal order against them. Since there will be no job for the G4s security personnel if there is no arrest of immigration violators, the CBSA and refugee board seem to work uniquely to further lengthen the period of detention. I personally was informed by a judge on my 48 hour detention review that I will not be released because my detention was not lengthy enough. There is a need to keep detainees at this facility even if there is no reasonable reason to furthering their detention. This also includes the unjustifiable rejection of bonds persons who are either suspected of not knowing enough about a detainee’s case which is not a ruling in the immigration and protection act. The act sates that a bondsperson must not be a convict, that bondsperson cannot place if there is a bond in default and that the bond they place must be entirely theirs. There is a need for counsel to represent detainees at detention reviews even though detainees are able to represent themselves.
This holding is a safe haven for lawyers and consultants who are collecting funds from helpless immigrants and refugee seekers who are disappointed by misrepresentation and/or not showing up at detention reviews by counsel. There are hundreds and thousands of dollars collected by lawyers and consultants who demand huge funding for the review representation of their client with fake assurance of release from the facility. Immigration lawyers are magnets to this facility because it is comprised of desperate detainees who are keenly in need of their help to be saved from being removed from Canada and being protected from the dangers that await them in their countries. Life in this holding centre is not close to what life is expected in here. Detainees are pressurized by different factors and it is very unfortunate that no one sees or hears them out.
There is a great deal of attention that is needed to assist refugees and immigrants and it appears that the Toronto Refugee Affairs Council helps but they mostly help those that are more likely to win their case with little to no struggle. Should there be a complexity of any sort in a refugee case the counsel is most likely not representing them and they would advise to appear to be removed to seek other chances to re-enter Canada or send for a spousal sponsorship from outside Canada. There is really not help available to immigrants and refugees when they reach the Indian Holding Centre.
The disrespect received from guards, the unlawful arrest by CBSA, the irresponsible medical attention, the negligence to release detainees in the refugee board detention reviews, plus the lawyers grabbing money and running all accumulate to the forever damage and depression of immigrants and refugees upon leaving Canada. They are forcefully removed from Canada with an image of Canada and they are prepared to show others at home and it’s never an attractive image. The image portrayed by these vulnerable immigrants about Canada when removed is not attractive and is a refugee for outsiders to have bad blood for Canada.
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