Queen’s Park – During Question Period on Thursday, Ontario NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic MPP Jennifer French challenged the Premier to get out of the business of immigration detention by ending the practice of housing federal immigration detainees in provincial correctional facilities.
“This Liberal government has an agreement with the federal government to warehouse federal immigration detainees in our provincial maximum security jails,” said French, “and instead of being held in federal immigration holding centres, many are hidden away, locked up in jail without due process.”
French noted that immigration detainees are often incarcerated because of issues with paperwork. In some cases, they may end up in prison for years with no end in sight.
“I sent a letter to the Premier outlining all of the concerns around this issue, and I’m still waiting for a response,” said French. “The province can’t just lock away federal problems. People in crisis deserve a fair process.”
“Complicated immigration cases deserve to be handled. They do not deserve to be swept under the provincial rug and left to languish.”
Under the current process, the federal government pays the cost of each detainee, plus a 20% premium to the province for detaining them in provincial facilities.
“Will the Premier agree to stop hiding federal problems behind our provincial walls and stop warehousing federal immigration detainees,” demanded French.
(A copy of MPP French’s letter can be found here.)