… home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch. You can’t pick your home anymore than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.
Visitors to immigrantchildren.ca will be familiar with my view on the British Home Children “program”: I believe that it was state-sanctioned child trafficking. Still, it is worth noting that this September, Canada will mark 150 years since the first children “arrived”.
Canada’s Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 has materials about this child emigration scheme, including this personal story.
British Home Children in Canada
British Home Children Registry
Library and Archives Canada
The Canadian Encyclopedia
On International #MigrantsDay check out this UK org/initiative ‘Child Migrant Stories‘ ~
Between 2010 and 2014, an average of 242 children were detained annually for immigration reasons in Canada, according to the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto. Worth noting here that the numbers are actually higher and do not include children who are not in detention themselves, but who accompany a parent who is detained.
This week, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) responded and issued a News Release, opening with these statements (links and emphasis added):
“As part of the Government of Canada’s work to create a better, fairer immigration detention system, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today issued Ministerial Direction to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on the treatment of minors in Canada’s immigration detention system. This direction is in addition to improvements currently being made to the system.
“The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration”.
Best Interests of the Child, or BIOC, is language from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Canada is a party. It means that the BIOC must be “a primary consideration in all state actions concerning children”.
In addition to the Ministerial Direction, CBSA also released:
A critical responses from the field comes from the Canadian Council for Refugees. Read The CCR welcomes government directives to reduce detention of children, but more needs to be done.
Kobina: Locked Up, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Canada Keeps Kids in Detention, a resource page of the Canadian Council for Refugees CCR Youth Network
Nov 6, 2017 CBC report
Canada’s Detention of Children, Human Rights Watch
immigrantchildren.ca was founded on November 3, 2007. Ten years ago today. Initially a project of the now defunct Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth, since 2008 it’s been a personal passion of mine. I like to gather and share information and the blog has been a great outlet for me. I hope it’s been useful for you.
Over 10 years, immigrantchildren.ca has shared fun items, engaged in policy discussions, shared calls for papers and conference announcements, posted resources, raised issues and proposed ideas.
The 10 most popular posts:
A big thank you to everyone who participates on and offline and especially to the five people who have shared so generously their time and insight on immigrant children and youth through my recent ‘Four questions for …’ interview series.
What’s next? I’ll keep you all posted! And, I invite you to share what you’d like to see. Leave a comment here or tweet at me.
“Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the un-healable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted.
“And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement.”
Edward Said, Reflections on Exile
“Here’s to the security guards who maybe had a degree in another land. Here’s to the manicurist who had to leave her family to come here, painting the nails, scrubbing the feet of strangers. Here’s to the janitors who don’t understand English yet work hard despite it all. Here’s to the fast food workers who work hard to see their family smile. Here’s to the laundry man at the Marriott who told me with the sparkle in his eyes how he was an engineer in Peru. Here’s to the bus driver, the Turkish Sufi who almost danced when I quoted Rumi. Here’s to the harvesters who live in fear of being deported for coming here to open the road for their future generation. Here’s to the taxi drivers from Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and India who gossip amongst themselves. Here is to them waking up at 4am, calling home to hear the voices of their loved ones. Here is to their children, to the children who despite it all become artists, writers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, activists and rebels. Here’s to international money transfer. For never forgetting home. Here’s to their children who carry the heartbeats of their motherland and even in sleep, speak with pride about their fathers. Keep on.”
Nicholas Keung, immigration reporter for the Toronto Star, reports on recent changes to the citizenship act that allow children, 18 years and younger, to apply for citizenship apart from their parent(s). However the fee is over $500. Previous policy saw parents applying on behalf of their children at a fee closer to $100.
Andrew Griffith‘s take:
“It was likely driven by somebody thinking bureaucratically without thinking about the policy’s intent to make it easier for minors to become citizens independently.
“That’s a lot of money, particularly for this vulnerable population. The government has removed the legal barrier to citizenship for them but has now set up a new financial barrier. Theoretically, more young people could become citizens. In practice, they will find it a lot harder.”
Read the entire story here.
“What tethers me to my parents is the unspoken dialogue we share about how much of my character is built on the connection I feel to the world they were raised in but that I’ve only experienced through photos, visits, food. It’s not mine and yet, I get it. First-generation kids, I’ve always thought, are the personification of déjà vu.”
Durga Chew-Bose, Too Much and Not the Mood