Migrant rights advocates organize "Status for All" rally as part of national call for justice

On September 17, Migrant Students United (MSU) at UBC rallied alongside Sulong UBC, MSU at SFU, Migrante BC, Committee for Domestics' Workers and Caregivers’ Rights and Gabriela BC for “Status for All” in front of the Canada Border Services Agency building.

The event began with a series of chants saying “Health Care for All Now,” “Stop Deportation Now” and “Landed Status Now.”

The Vancouver rally coincided with sister rallies occurring all across Canada to fight for migrant justice. The “Status for All” movement is not a new one, and has been led by the Migrant Rights Network.

September 17 was intentionally chosen to call attention to migrant injustices prior to the Cabinet meeting on September 18, where ministers will discuss and make decisions regarding pressing national concerns.

In 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government’s commitment to regularize the status of migrant workers. The rally aimed to call attention to the commitment.

In 2022, Ottawa announced they have been working on a program to regularize 500,000 immigrants.

Activists are calling for the Trudeau government to grant permanent resident status for all undocumented people.

The event began with a series of chants saying “Health Care for All Now,” “Stop Deportation Now” and “Landed Status Now.”
The event began with a series of chants saying “Health Care for All Now,” “Stop Deportation Now” and “Landed Status Now.” Katrianna DeSante / The Ubyssey

Gizel Gedik, a student in international relations and history and one of founders of MSU at UBC, said the university “does not equitably treat its migrant students, especially racialized migrants.”

She pointed to “the way the international student office reacts to crises around the world” as well as UBC’s continuation to “lessen the funding available for international students office and advising” as examples of UBC's carelessness.

For Gedik, it is important to ensure “free healthcare for all” since “only migrant students have to pay for healthcare in BC.”

This year, UBC has recently discontinued the Trek Excellence Scholarship for international students.

Gedik asked UBC “to demand that the province funds secondary education” instead of “raising our tuition every year.”

She said UBC needs to “do a better job at representing the migrant student body that they use as cash cows to fund the institution.”

Through these speeches, speakers made sure to highlight the links between migrant justice and other forms of justice such as climate and housing.

They urged allies and migrants to sign a petition through the Migrant Rights Network to demand for “Status for All.”

The rally concluded with a piñata, which portrayed images of a border, Trudeau’s promises as well as the names of migrants who have died waiting for status.

A speaker read out their names and the crowd repeated them back. Youth in the crowd then hit the piñata with a hockey stick to represent smashing borders in solidarity, and candy spilled out onto the plaza.

Gedik said there is a need for solidarity between migrants and allies.

"We also gathered together as a migrant community and allies to show that people here do care about migrants and we do support them and we are in solidarity with them."