UPDATE JULY 6, 2022- – A VICTORY IN A CONTINUING CAMPAIGN FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR FOREIGN WORKERS IN CANADA
The scheduled deportation of undocumented migrant worker Vangie Cayanan and her daughter McKenna Rose has been deferred at least one year, according to her lawyer Manraj Sidhu. The campaign led by Migrante along with its network and supporters led to this change of heart on the part of the federal government. A video about Vangie created by ALHI videographer Don Bouzek in collaboration with Migrante Alberta has been praised by Migrante Alberta director Marco Luciano for having influenced media interest and public support in Vangie’s cause.
Migrante also reports that the deportation of a Mexican family with a similar story to that of Vangie has also been deferred. Luis Ubando Nolasco, Cinthya Carrasco Campos, and their 8 and 9 year old daughters had been scheduled to be forced out of Canada on July 4. But the family chose to seek support during a Migrante press conference in June related to the plight of Vangie and McKenna. Migrante extended its campaign to include the Mexican family and are delighted that the immigration authorities have provided a temporary reprieve to that family as well as Vangie and McKenna Rose.
Migrante will continue to support the efforts of both of these hard-working families to achieve permanent residence status in Canada. They note with regret that despite promises by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to create regularization programs to give status to undocumented migrants that a vicious series of deporations has occurred in the last year. “We will continue to be loud and fight for the rights of undocumented migrants. No one must be left behind” says Nova Porquia, the Vice Chairperson of Migrante Alberta. Migrante Alberta, along with other organizations with the Migrant Rights Network, is calling for an immediate and ongoing regularization program. That would include an immediate moratorium on detentions and deportations, inclusive criteria for permanent status, a user-friendly application process, effective communication regarding the program, open work permits for applicants for permanent status, an ongoing program for those who lose status after the mass regularization, and a promise to address the reasons why people might be losing their status. All of these issues need to be addressed by the government in consultation with migrants themselves.
We are reaching out to you to seek financial support for Vangie and her daughter McKenna. Faced potential deportation in July and is still not guaranteed permanent residence. Migrante is raising funds to help them establish themselves as legal residents of Canada.
Vangie is an active member of Migrante and staunch advocate of migrants’ rights, especially undocumented migrants. She led Migrante’s “McKenna Rose Campaign,” a successful campaign that allows Canadian-born children of undocumented mothers to access healthcare. She is a recipient of the 2018 Human Rights Award presented by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. During the height of the global pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Vangie was one of the team leaders in the “Serve The People Project”, a project to support undocumented migrants through delivery of care packages and provision of different forms of assistance.
You may send your donations and messages of support to email@example.com. Please put “For Vangie and McKenna” in the notes when you donate, or put the subject in your email message.
In Solidarity, Migrante Alberta Executive Committee
Migrante petition to allow Evangeline and McKenna Cayanan to stay in Canada
Evangeline Cayanan faces deportation to the Philippines after 12 years of hard work at jobs that few Canadian-born people would perform for the wages and working conditions that she had little opportunity to protest. She would be returning with her her 5 year old Canadian-born daughter, McKenna, whose struggles with severe ADHD have been helped by Canadian programs that lack equivalents in the Philippines, a country which McKenna has never visited and whose language is unfamiliar to her. Evangeline came to Canada as a temporary foreign worker in 2010. Like many TFWs, she faced the horrors that attend a program in which each TFW is tied to a particular employer. If that employer violates the labour contract or the human rights of the employee, even if the violation is a sexual assault, a complaint by the employee generally results in dismissal by the employer and immediate deportation. Any chance of renewing the labour contract upon its expiration is dashed by insisting on being treated with respect for your human rights. In Evangeline’s case, the effort to seek to stay in Canada without a new TFW employer contract has been continuously rebuffed for 7 years. In July, she has her last-chance hearing. If she and McKenna are deported, it will be a cruel demonstration of the willingness of the Government of Canada and ruthless employers to exploit workers from low-income countries with no pathway to citizenship as a reward.
There are as many as 500,000 undocumented workers in Canada. Evangeline Cayanan is only one of them. But it is important that we learn stories such as those of Evangeline Cayanan to understand the extent to which the Temporary Foreign Workers program and the whole concept of “undocumented workers” (TFWs whose contracts have expired but who remain in Canada to work and often to attempt to gain legal citizenship) creates capitalist super-exploitation of good people who contribute their labour willingly to Canada but are poorly compensated for their efforts. The stories of Danilo De Leon and Edeline Agoncillo, also on the ALHI website, are also very moving accounts of the lives of TFWs who have become undocumented workers.