Groups gathered in solidarity against deportations this Saturday amidst the downtown bustle of Formula One. Organized by Cité sans frontières / Solidarity City, the crowd consisted of initiatives such as Solidarity Across Borders, Mexicans United for Regularization and No One Is Illegal-Montreal, which met at Carré Bethune on Guy and de Maisonneuve Ouest.

“We want an end to detention and end to all deportations and an end to double punishment of migrants and status for all. We want respect,” a demonstrator said to the crowd as Aretha Franklin’s respect played over the speaker system.

The demonstration tackled several issues related to deportations, including changes to the temporary migrant workers program and education for immigrant children.

“Right now they’re cutting refugees that are entering the country by over half. There’s a new temporary migrant worker program that says you can come here to work temporarily but then you need to leave, and you can never come back, and you can never live here permanently,” Malek from Solidarity Across Borders said.

According to Solidarity Across Borders, last year saw over 350 000 people come to Canada in the Migrant Worker Program – most of which were women – which is more than any other type of migrant allowed to enter the country.

“[The government] also cut family reunification. And get this, between 9000 and 15 000 migrants and immigrants, including children, are detained in this country right now, for months [and] even years on administrative grounds,” Malek continued.

Though the demonstration complied with by-law P-6, demonstrators temporarily defied their given route, moving up from Ste Catherine to Sherbrooke Street. Eventually demonstrators turned back on route, ending with a picnic at Carré Philips.

“[These] policies reflect a state and policies that are running scared. They’re scared of migrants, because every migrant that comes here is a threat to everything that this country was founded on,” said Malek.

“Everytime [the government] sees a migrant in [Canada], they know it’s a threat. They’re a threat to imperialism, to white supremacy, and […] to colonialism. We’re not going to stop coming.”