Access to Essential Services for All Families
Sanctuary City Edmonton Urges Access Without Fear Policies
This Family Day 2018, we recognize the migrants that have been separated from their families in search for better and peaceful lives, and the families here who are being told to go back home after providing service to this country. Many have made the hard decision to stay without status because of the same reasons that pushed them out of their countries.
They face systemic and institutional discrimination, economic exploitation, and are unable to access essential services. They are our neighbours, friends, coworkers, and fellow humans.
The City of Edmonton’s Community and Public Services Committee has been working on developing an Access Without Fear policy, and a vote is expected by council this summer. They would be joining almost 500 other jurisdictions across Canada and the US with similar policies.
“Passing Access Without Fear policies would mean helping migrants live more dignified and meaningful lives,” says Marco Luciano, “We want to ensure that people aren’t afraid to call the police to report a crime, send their kids to school, or even get a transit pass.”
By failing to make these services accessible and safe to access for people with uncertain or precarious immigration status the City of Edmonton is putting the health and welfare of these Edmontonians at risk and making them more likely to be exploited. Supporting undocumented people will help secure safety and health for everyone in our communities.
Organizations continue to endorse a letter of solidarity, advocating for policies and measures that will uphold the rights for all people to access services, no matter their status. Individuals may also send a letter directly to mayor and council in Edmonton.
Sanctuary City Edmonton is a group of individuals, community organizations, and institutions that believe in basic human rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognize every member of our community in holding these rights. There are a growing number of families that already suffer in poverty facing extreme food and housing insecurity, and their needs must be met. We support the City of Edmonton’s formal commitment towards being a Human Rights City by making it one of the key strategies towards ending poverty in Edmonton within a generation.
We urge the the City of Edmonton to adopt a Sanctuary City Edmonton policy and procedure, to include Access Without Fear provisions, an Implementation Plan for Staff and Operations, and ongoing consultation with community in the creation and implementation of the policy. We strongly urge a commitment from emergency services, including the Edmonton Police Services and Commission, to protect victims and witnesses of crime, treating peoples’ immigration status as strictly confidential.
We also ask that the council advocate and become champions for Sanctuary, Access Without Fear policies at Edmonton Public and Catholic Schools and at the provincial and federal levels.
What is a Sanctuary City?
It is for non-status migrants to be able access city services without fear of deportation. City services should be given to all regardless of their status;
It is for all agencies and facilities in the City of Edmonton not to ask for the status of the person seeking the service (Access Without Fear);
It is to ensure that all city residents with precarious or undocumented status do not face barriers accessing essential city services, such as emergency services, social housing, food banks, health care, and education (including any city funded services or programs).
Who benefits from Sanctuary City?
All of us benefit from non-status migrants. They work in the City and spend in the City. They continue to contribute to our economy through their tax dollars despite a lack of protection and services, which they’re paying for.
Migrant workers, refugee claimants, victims of human trafficking, and their families face exploitation, oppression and exclusion, especially when their status is uncertain.
They deserve the same access to services as all citizens. Supporting undocumented people will help secure safety and health for everyone in our communities.