Target: Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau
Goal: End the indefinite detention of child migrants by the Canadian government.
Hundreds of children have been detained for indefinite periods in immigration holding centers across Canada under Canadian laws that make such detentions legal. Some have been born in custody, spending years imprisoned. Still more children, many of whom are Canadian citizens, choose detention along with their parents rather than being separated and potentially entering the child protective services system. Children “voluntarily” detained on average face periods of detention three times longer than other detained children.
Long term detention has been shown to have serious impacts on child mental health, causing anxiety, aggressive behavior, insomnia, and loss of appetite. These symptoms often persist for months after the detention ends. Furthermore, many of the detention facilities lack adequate educational facilities.
Additionally, detention is more expensive than a number of other policy options such as requiring people to regularly report their whereabouts, requiring supervision, or requiring financial deposits. These options have been shown to be effective and more humane means of dealing with migration issues. Sign our petition and demand an end to the imprisonment of migrant children.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
As you are no doubt aware, hundreds of children are being detained in immigration detention centers across Canada. The period of their detention is often indefinite, and there have been multiple reports of children being born and spending the first years of their life in detention. As disturbing are the reports of Canadian children of migrants having to choose between detention with their parents and the custody of the child protection agency.
There is mounting evidence that detaining children has a lasting negative impact on their mental well being. Furthermore, detention facilities often lack the infrastructure needed to provide education. There exist multiple cheaper and comparably effective means of achieving the ends of detention that do not require imprisoning a large number of people.
In your speech to the U.N. General Assembly, you told the world that Canada was “here to help.” There is a lack of global leadership on the treatment of migrants in general and migrant children in particular. I urge you to reform the Canadian immigration detention system and provide the world with an example of how a country should treat migrants.
[Your Name Here]
Photo ccredit: Takver