Under the banner of combating “human smuggling” and deterring the arrival
of boats such as the MV Sun Sea, politicians are proposing and debating
blatantly anti-migrant legislation. Criminalizing smuggling cannot prevent
human migration as millions of people across the globe are forcibly
displaced from their lands and communities due to military occupation,
environmental degradation, and corporate profiteering.
Much like the hypocritical ideology of “liberation” through military
occupation, anti-smuggling provisions are justified through the rhetoric
of protecting migrants. In reality, such legislation only increases the
stakes in irregular, often dangerous, migration. There are an estimated
500 deaths per year at the US-Mexico border and over 1000 deaths at the
We affirm human smuggling as an often necessary pathway to protection and freedom. Human smuggling exists as a symptom in a broader context of
increasing border controls, repressive immigration policies, and racist
security processes that cast migrants as undesirable human cargo.
We also reject anti-trafficking legislation that perpetuates exploitation
of women and children through policies of detention and deportation. In
actuality, the state is the biggest culprit in the trafficking of humans –
importing hundreds of thousands of exploitable migrant labour to the
fields and homes of Canadians to toil under conditions of servitude and
legally denying them basic rights.
Rather than despair, historic resistance from within the walls of
detention centres to human underground railroads has inspired us to create
a poster series “I am a human smuggler”. We encourage you to please download, post, and distribute this poster linked above widely!
**No One Is Illegal Toronto and The South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
held a public forum on January 11, 2011 called “Can human smuggling be
defended?” Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhFuyQAVYS0
* NO ONE IS ILLEGAL, THE SYSTEM IS ILLEGAL!
Canada’s immigration system is not broken. It is the result of a perfected
system of social control, containment, and commodification. We do not
advocate for more humane politicians or more generous laws. We demand an end to detentions and deportations and the violence of all cages of
control. We demand the abolition of exploitative temporary worker
programs. We demand workers control over their own production, not
corporate wage-slave working conditions that commodifies human beings
especially women. We demand status for all those who have been deemed
illegal in order to justify theft of their labour. From Turtle Island to
Afghanistan, we demand the dismantling of Fortress North America and its
border security pacts as well as the global military-industrial complex,
all of which deliberately creates and justifies a culture of fear and
We say this because we challenge the very notion that some people are more
deserving of a fulfilling life than others. Ideologies of worth are based
on racism and domination that have justified the dehumanization and
genocide of peoples across the world. Instead, we assert the basic
principle of self-determination. That people have the right to remain in
their homes in the face of global displacement due to land theft,
occupation, corporate globalization, and other capitalist and imperialist
forces. That in light of the freedom afforded to capital and armies,
people are free to move whether due to persecution or poverty, or simply
in order to flourish with dignity. That people have the inherent right to
return to the lands of which they have been unjustly dispossessed.
The Canadian state and its economy are built on the theft of Indigenous
lands; the exploitation of labour, especially slave, migrant, and
reproductive labour; and the global appropriation of natural resources.
The ongoing apartheid reality instituted through reserves and sweatshops
is one that must be fundamentally uprooted and transformed. We envision
and actively strive to create a humanity where everyone has the right to
sustenance and the ability to provide it, where we are free of oppression,
misery, and exploitation, and are able to live meaningfully with one
another and in reverence for the land that sustains us.
No One is Illegal-Vancouver
NEW: visit our updated site