Black Lives Matter Attends Canada-U.S. Border to Provide Legal Support, Detained By RCMP

TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Black Lives Matter and Legal Counsel, Saron Gebresellassi, arrived at the Roxham Road and Lacolle Border crossings to offer legal support to Haitian migrants crossing the border to enter Canada. At the Border, the RCMP detained the group for over an hour captured on a video that has since gone viral.

The Trump administration is ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haitian migrants by July 2019, forcing approximately 60,000 Haitian migrants to either flee or face deportation.

“Migrants crossing the border badly need legal advice and representation,” said Saron Gebresellassi, a lawyer who coordinated the delegation. “Canada’s legal system is difficult to navigate, even more so for migrants who are being detained in conditions that may also violate their Charter rights. The environment here is heavily militarized and needs to be monitored round-the-clock.”

Over 16,000 people have crossed the border according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “The situation Haitians are facing in Canada is devastating,” said Pascale Diverlus, an activist from Black Lives Matter. “Trudeau himself said refugees are welcome here but for Haitian children, parents and families their first moments in Canada are met with arrest instead of the welcoming environment they are hoping for.”

The delegation is offering legal support in nine languages including English, French, American Sign Language, Creole and Spanish in anticipation of an anticipated influx of migrants who may also be seeking asylum in Canada after the recent announcement that the Trump administration is cancelling TPS designations for over 200,000 El Salvadorans.

Media Contact (French and English):
Saron Gebresellassi
Tel: (416) 854-6645