CAJ & WEBSTER FINALIST: Undocumented B.C. Migrant Rights

Series published in The Tyee | July 8-18, 2014

For the city’s undocumented immigrants, fear of discovery lurks in emergency rooms, schools, the local bus.

The daughter of a Vancouver construction worker deported to Honduras in March 2013 attends a protest against the reality TV show that filmed his workplace arrest. Photo by David P. Ball

Keying off the May 29 story broken by The Tyee that Vancouver’s Vision-dominated city council is considering declaring Vancouver a “sanctuary city,” this in-depth series examines the roots and the implications of this potential policy shift.

PRELUDE EXCLUSIVE: Vancouver Council Supports ‘Sanctuary’ for Undocumented Migrants

SanctuaryCity-Byron Cruz-Alejandra Lopez BravoThe issue of undocumented immigrants reared up on Jan. 27, when David P. Ball revealed in 24 Hours newspaper that the B.C. Coroners Service was investigating the death of an undocumented Mexican woman in the custody of Canada Border Services Agency.

Five months after Lucía Vega Jiménez’s suicide, The Tyee learned that advocates took a step closer to seeing a new city policy implemented that would prevent municipal agents from feeding immigration authorities the information they need to find and deport undocumented migrants.

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VIDEO: Inside Vancouver’s Sanctuary City Movement

This 12-minute video report accompanies a four-part Tyee series on sanctuary city for undocumented migrants, a policy which Vision-dominated city council is considering declaring.

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PART I: Inside Vancouver’s Sanctuary City Movement

AR Byron bannerFor the city’s undocumented immigrants, fear of discovery lurks in emergency rooms, schools, the local bus. With video report, first in a series.

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PART II: Transit Police Report Riders to Immigration Nearly Every Day

SkyTrain bMany deportations start with checks of SkyTrain riders. Deported Peruvian citizen Jazmine Rosales, 40, was just one of 328 people reported to CBSA by Transit Police last year, one-in-five of whom faced a subsequent immigration investigation.

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PART III: Vancouver Police Look to Los Angeles, Toronto for Migrant Guidelines

Mario GiardiniAs Vancouver begins its own journey towards enacting sanctuary policies akin to Toronto’s year-old reforms, senior police brass here say they can learn a few things from the U.S.’s second-largest city, Los Angeles.

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TIMELINE: Policing Sanctuary City

Josh Paterson closeHow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to non-status immigrants evolved amongst police forces in North America.

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PART IV: Burnaby Mayor, NPA Question Sanctuary Cities Push

DerrickCorrigan4-Eoghan MoriartyThe mayor of Burnaby and Vancouver’s Non-Partisan Association have thrown cold water on a push to have B.C.’s third-largest city offer undocumented immigrant residents access to municipal services without fear.

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AUDIO: The Tyee’s interview with Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan

PART V: Vancouver’s Hidden Children


Many undocumented families, fearing deportation, don’t enrol kids in school even when the kids are citizens here. The Tyee speaks to some of them, and the teachers pushing for their right to an education.

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