Archive for the ‘Family reunification’ Category

Discounting immigrant families: Neoliberalism & the framing of Canadian immigration policy change

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

As part of part of the SSHRC project, Immigration Trajectories of Immigrant Families, the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement has released the paper Discounting Immigrant Families: Neoliberalism and the Framing of Canadian Immigration Policy Change.

From the abstract:

“This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework to assist in understanding how the immigrant family is impacted by recent changes to immigration policy in Canada. We contend that neoliberalism, broadly defined, is a helpful lens through which to comprehend some of the specific policies as well as discursive outcomes which have real effects on immigrant families. Based on our findings from an in-depth literature review, our goal is to identify and summarize the recent changes to the Canadian policy environment and to develop a critical conceptual framework through which to understand policy change in relation to families and immigrants”.

The too-brief discussion of the “ideal immigrant” and the “ideal immigrant family” in the paper is provocative, or at least could be. Children, as part of an immigrant family, are social policy orphans. There is little attention devoted to immigrant children, both from the academic/research community and the federal/provincial government departments responsible for citizenship and immigration. The RCIS papers lack of depth on this issue fails to answer the first research question posed in the SSHRC project, i.e., How do all members of the family facilitate or impede the integration of immigrants? The paper briefly touches on the federal policy changes to the definition of dependent children from 22 and under to 19 and under, for children arriving under the economic class and/or family sponsorship. This is an important issue to highlight. Immigrant children, from birth to age eight, are also an important group to address. A federal policy response is warranted. Children in this age group are ripe for shaping, so to speak. It is odd that given the federal governments focus on integration, they are not developing programs, supports and services that promote acculturation. And why isn’t the academic/research community delving deeper?

Toronto Star op-ed: Canada tightens rules on immigrant and refugee children

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Ashley Chapman’s op-ed in the Toronto Star, published on Sat Jul 26 2014. All rights reserved.

“While much of the country is enjoying the summer, the federal government is quietly amending its immigration and refugee protection regulations. With only $62,000 set aside for both implementation and communications, it’s clear that they’re not wanting much public attention.

“And no wonder.

“As of Aug. 1, Canada is tightening the rules on which immigrant and refugee children are eligible to come to Canada with their parents. Until that date, unmarried dependants aged 21 and under could be included in their parents’ immigration or refugee applications. Exceptions were made for full-time students over 21 who were financially dependent on their parents. Under the new regulations, the cut-off age is 18 and under, with no exceptions for students.

“According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, “The amendments to the definition of dependent child respond to government priorities of having an immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour force needs.” Their own regulatory impact analysis statement cites evidence that the younger a child is when they immigrate, the better their long-term labour market outcomes. On average, they claim, Canadian education yields a higher financial return than foreign education.

“The economic evidence may stand, but Canada will likely lose out on some highly qualified immigrants who are understandably unwilling to move to a new country or continent without their 19- or 20-year-old progeny. What’s more, the changes go against one of the official objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act — to reunite families.

“Still, economic migrants make the choice to come to Canada; the amendments will have a much graver impact on those with very little choice in their immigration — refugees and others in the humanitarian immigration stream. In fact, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees took notice when the changes were first previewed in the Canada Gazette last year. So did the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association, and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.

“In total, 60 groups and individuals submitted written comments after the changes were first proposed. Most were in opposition.

“Many refugees and asylum seekers will now have to decide whether safety in Canada is worth leaving a 19-year-old son or daughter behind in a potentially life-threatening situation.

“At the Canadian Council for Refugees’ Consultation last year, refugee settlement workers explained the gendered dangers this would create in countries where women are oppressed. No longer in their parents’ household, they could be forced to marry, face destitution or worse.

“One worker recounted a situation under the previous regulations where a 22-year-old daughter was the only remaining family member left in a new country (the neighbouring country where the family fled to make their refugee claim). The family pleaded with the minister of citizenship and immigration for an exemption, to no avail.

“Ironically, it was only after the daughter attempted to commit suicide that the situation improved. As a result of her new mental health issue, she could now be considered a dependant.

“With the age of dependency being lowered by three years, it’s estimated that 7,000 young adults will lose their chance to come to Canada with their families next year. About 800 of them will be the children of refugees. This is what happens when we let economic motives determine our immigration policy.

“Of course the government also claims the regulatory changes better reflect life in Canada, where — apparently — young adult children are fully independent by age 19.

“The Canadian reality is that most high school graduates are neither ready nor willing to make it entirely apart from their parents’ financial, social and emotional support. In fact, 42 per cent of 20-somethings in Canada still live with their parents, and most have never faced war, famine or torture.

“It’s no easy feat to qualify for refugee status internationally or in Canada; those who are accepted have been through more than most can imagine. Adding a forced familial separation onto that load is not only unconscionable, it’s unthinkable.

“But the government isn’t asking us to think about it. The meagre communications budget allotted the change will not reach anyone but those who are no longer eligible to apply. The rest of us will continue with our summer holiday plans and continue to joke that our 27-year-old offspring will leave the nest — someday”.

Ashley Chapman is with Citizens for Public Justice, a member-driven, faith-based public policy organization in Ottawa.

Immigrant parent-child separation, York University study call for participants

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

York University’s Infant and Child Mental Health Lab, in collaboration with Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre are conducting a study to better understand the needs and issues related to parent-child separation.

The study is inviting GTA African, Caribbean, Chinese and South Asian mothers and children to participate in a home visiting program. Parents and children must have experienced a separation of at least one year and are now reunited.

For more information, contact Natasha Whitfield at nwhit@yorku.ca, or at 416-736-2100, ext. 33406.

Immigrant family separation study recruitment flyer

“I don’t feel human” ~ The plight of young refugees and migrants in the UK

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The Children’s Society is a UK-based charity that is “committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including safeguarding children in care and young runaways”. The Children’s Society campaigns and research seek to influence policy on and give voice to marginalized children, including young refugees. In February, they released a report on the state of young refugees and migrants in the UK. From the announcement:

In “I don’t feel human”, we examine available data on the extent and impact of destitution, and speak to young migrants and the people who work to support them. The report sets out the devastating impact being destitute has on children, young people and families.

“This is an issue for young people who come to seek protection in the UK alone but have been refused asylum and so are left in limbo.

“Having fled danger in their country of birth, these young people are exposed to danger and harm in this country because they are excluded from support and accommodation. They remain hidden from view and have to survive with minimal resources.

“This is also an issue for children in migrant families who may not have an asylum claim but who become destitute for various reasons including domestic violence and family breakdown. Yet due to immigration restrictions they are unable to access support and their parents are not allowed to work in order to pull them out of poverty”.

14th National Metropolis conference, Feb 29-March 3, sessions on immigrant children, youth & families

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

The 14th National Metropolis conference theme is Future Immigration Policies: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada. It will be held February 29 – March 3, 2012 at the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto.

immigrantchildren.ca is delighted to see so many workshops and a dedicated poster session that focus on immigrant and refugee children, youth, and families:

Thurs March 1, 2012 Workshops

Family violence towards young newcomer women
This workshop will explore family violence towards young newcomer women (ages 15-30). Presentations will examine factors that contribute to abuse and violence, barriers and facilitators to seeking help, the experiences of shelter staff in offering appropriate services, and existing government policies and programs related to this type of family violence.

Organizer
Lucia Madariaga-Vignudo, Qualtrica Associates
Tuula Heinonen, University of Manitoba

Participants
Priya Sharma, University of Manitoba
Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Help: The Experience of Young Newcomer Women Affected by Family Violence in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Lucia Madariaga-Vignudo, Qualtrica Associates
Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Help: The Experience of Young Newcomer Women Affected by Family Violence in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Janine Fraser, Edmonton Women’s Shelter Ltd.
Providing Shelter to Young Newcomer Women Fleeing Family Violence: A Service Provider’s Perspective

Hoori Hamboyan, Justice Canada
Family violence policy and its impact on ethno-cultural minority communities

Anna Korteweg, University of Toronto
Religion, Culture, and the Politicization of Honour-Related Violence: A Critical Analysis of Media and Policy Debates in Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada

Chair
Tuula Heinonen, University of Manitoba

At the margins but longing to belong: Immigrant and refugee youth in Canadian schools Immigrant teenagers experience a steep learning curve as they attempt to learn either English or French, complete high school and integrate into Canadian society. In this workshop we will explore the social and linguistic integration experiences of newcomers at school in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec as well as policy implications.

Organizer
Antoinette Gagné, University of Toronto

Participants
Ranya Khan, University of Toronto
Meeting the needs of war-affected refugees in Manitoba high schools

Sunny Lau, Bishop’s University
Developing immigrant learners’ academic expertise through the promotion of identities of competence

Stephanie Soto Gordon, Toronto District Board of Education
Growing new roots: Coming together – New immigrant and Canadian teenagers

Antoinette Gagne, University of Toronto
Growing new roots: Coming together – New immigrant and Canadian teenagers

Yamin Qian, University of Toronto
More than English proficiency: Chinese adolescents’ peer networks and English use in Toronto

Marilyn Steinbach, Université de Sherbrooke
Social integration of immigrant adolescents in secondary schools in regional Quebec

Chair
Antoinette Gagné, University of Toronto

Discussant
Clea Schmidt, University of Manitoba

Female genital cutting in the Canadian context: Global bodies and immigration The 1990s was a time of much attention to the issue of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) in Canada with the development of legal policies, original research and innovative programming in the community. In this workshop, presenters from different sectors and disciplines will address a renewed interest in all of these areas.

Organizer
Paula Migliardi, Sexuality Education Resource Centre

Participants
Shereen Denetto, Sexuality Education Resource Centre
Women, Men and Youth’s Perspectives of Female Genital Cutting and Change In Winnipeg

Gillian Einstein, University of Toronto
Pain in Somali – Canadian Women: Neurological Consequences of Female Genital Circumcision

Perron Liette, Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologist Canada
Female Genital Cutting / Mutilation: SOGC Working for Change

Notisha Massaquoi, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre
Policy Development in Canada: Past, Present and Future

Bilkis Visandjée, University of Montréal
Clinical Imperatives, Research Perspectives: Giving Quality of Care in the Context of Traditional Practices

Chair
Paula Migliardi, Sexuality Education Resource Centre

Immigration and mothering This session will examine the multiple and shifting roles, relationships, constructions and representations of mothers and mothering in the processes of immigration. Various dimensions will be explored from issues of identity (and intersecting identities in terms of race and class), to work in the home, family and community, as well as the negotiation of family arrangements, relationships with the second generation, and roles with respect to transnational and cross-cultural mothering. In so doing, this workshop will consider how mothers contribute to immigration, settlement and integration, as well as the impact such processes have on mothering.

Organizer
Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Atlantic Metropolis Centre
Evangelia Tastsoglou, Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Metropolis Centre
Guida C. Man, York University and CERIS-The Ontario Metropolis Centre

Participants
Guida C. Man, York University and CERIS-The Ontario Metropolis Centre
Negotiating Work and Family: Exploring Transnational Migration Practices of Immigrant Women Professionals in Canada

Mehrunnisa Ali, Ryerson University
When Mothering Never Ends: The Experiences of Mothering Teenagers and Young Adults in the South Asian Diaspora

Farishta Murzban Dinshaw, COSTI Family Violence Initiative
Mothers of Sons: Gender Roles and Cultural Continuity in Immigrant Communities

Anna Kirova, University of Alberta and Prairie Metropolis Centre
Involving Newcomer Parents and Children in Negotiating Cultural Identities Through Art-Making

Chair
Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Atlantic Metropolis Centre

Discussant
Evangelia Tastsoglou, Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Metropolis Centre

Improving the lives of immigrant and refugee youth: Collaborative community, research, and policy initiatives The complex needs of our growing population of youth from immigrant and refugee families will be addressed by academic, professional, and community participants. Promising collaborative approaches in youth activism, local partnerships, diversity training, and health improvement among immigrant youth will be highlighted, with an eye toward policy and programming.

Organizer
Darren Lund, Prairie Metropolis Centre

Participants
Darren Lund, Prairie Metropolis Centre
Learning from Youth Leaders in Social Justice Activism

James Baker, Memorial University
The Making of a “Welcoming Community”: Youth Perspectives on Inclusion, Integration, and Participation

Marisa Cardeal-Casagrande, McMaster University
Fostering Leadership and Engagement with the “Youth Futures Program”

Hassan Vatanparast, University of Saskatchewan
Improving the Health and Nutrition of Immigrant and Refugee Children

Mischa Davison, Saskatoon Open Door Society
“Creating Youth Culture”: Teen Diversity Leadership Training Program

Chair
Darren Lund, Prairie Metropolis Centre

Discussant
Fariborz Birjandian, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Friday, March 2, 2012 Workshops

Second generation youth: Educational and employment trajectories among Filipino youth in Canada The Philippines is now Canada’s top source of immigrants and this population has a distinctive set of arrival and settlement experiences. The echoes of these experiences are evident in the educational and employment outcomes of second generation Filipino-Canadian youth. This session explores these outcomes across four cities in Canada.

Organizer
Philip Kelly, York University

Participants
Philip Kelly, York University
Geographies of the Second Generation: Filipino-Canadian Class Reproduction in Urban
Canada

Maureen Mendoza, University of British Columbia
Educated Minorities: The Experiences of Filipino Canadian University Students

Darlyne Bautista, Winnipeg School Division
Exploring Culture in Our Schools: Policy Discussion and Community Practice

Veronica Javier, Community Social Worker

Julia Mais, York University
Behind the Resume: Influences on the Educational and Employment Trajectories of 1.5 and Second Generation Filipino-Canadians

Daisydee Bautista, Aksyon Ng Ating Kabataan (ANAK) Inc.
Exploring Culture in Our Schools: Policy Discussion and Community Practice

Chair
Mila Garcia, Community Alliance for Social Justice

Discussant
Conely De Leon, York University

The Concepts of age and generation in the migration context: Implications for policy-research This workshop focuses on the concepts of age and generation in migration contexts and examines the inter-play of age, generation, as well as gender, race and immigrant and family status in the social and economic outcomes of immigrants in Canada. Conceptual and methodological issues will be explored. Research findings related to how age and generational status are key indicators of both the context of migrations and the settlement and integration processes will be shared. Policy and program implications for governments and service providers will also be identified.

Organizer
Christina Clark-Kazak, York University
Laure Lafrance, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Participants
Alexandra Ricard-Guay, McGill University
Unpacking human trafficking definitions through the lens of age-sensitivity

Ranu Basu, York University
Building Community in Suburban Inner-City Schools: Scarborough as Site for Emancipatory Practice

Yogendra Shakya, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services
Challenges and Opportunities in Family Role Changes for Refugee Youth from the Afghani, Karen and Sudanese Communities

May Farrales, Unversity of British Columbia
Holding spaces: geographies of Filipino-Canadian students’ educational experiences

Chair
Christina Clark-Kazak, York University

Post-secondary education participation: Access and supports among immigrant youth in Canada This workshop reports, compares, and contrasts findings with respect to post-secondary education participation of immigrant youth with particular attention to access and supports (e.g. structural factors, social supports, special needs, engagement) from two sources — 17 year olds in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and 19 year olds in British Columbia’s Metro Vancouver School Districts (MVSD).

Organizer
Paul Anisef, York University
Vicky Maldonado, McMaster University

Participants
Robert Brown, Toronto District School Board

Gillian Parekh, York University

Paul Anisef, York University
Post-secondary Participation of First, Second, and Third Generation Students: The Role of Social and Academic Supports in Secondary School

Vicky Maldonado and Scott Davies, McMaster University
Horizontal Stratification and the Maclean’s Rankings: University Participation of Native-born and Immigrant Youth in the Toronto District School Board

Kristyn Frank, Independent Researcher
Does Parental and Teacher Engagement Influence the Field of Study Choices of Immigrant and Canadian-born University Students?

Maria Adamuti-Trache, University of Texas at Arlington

Robert Sweet, Lakehead University
High School to PSE Pathways of Metro Vancouver Students: Ethnic Group Differences

Chair
Paul Anisef, York University

Discussant
Roula Anastasakos, Toronto District School Board

Limited access to healthcare for uninsured families and children: Ontario and Quebec This workshop focuses on health status and access to care of immigrant, refugee, and migrant children, youth and pregnant women who do not have provincial health care coverage. It will present new research findings, health provider perspectives and health service delivery challenges, and discuss implications for policy and practice.

Organizer
Joanna Anneke Rummens, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
Cécile Rousseau, McGill University and CSSS de la Montagne (Parc Extension)
Sharon Chakkalackal, The Hospital for Sick Children

Participants
Joanna Anneke Rummens, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
Sharon Chakkalackal, The Hospital for Sick Children
Access to Health Care for Uninsured Immigrant, Refugee and Migrant Child and Youth in Ontario

Audrey Laurin-Lamothe, McGill University
Francesca Meloni, McGill University
Alexandra Ricard-Guay, McGill University
Health Status of Uninsured Children & Pregnant Women in Quebec

Manavi Handa, Assocation of Ontario Midwives
Karline Wilson-Mitchell, Sages-Femmes Rouge Valley Midwives Scarborough/Durham Region
On the Ground: Access to Healthcare Issues for Uninsured Women and their Canadian Babies

Joesiann Nelson, Black Creek Community Health Centre,
Simone Atungo, Mount Sinai Hospital
Before and After: Seeking Pathways to Care for Uninsured Moms and Children at Community Health Centres and Hospitals

Chair
Deb Kocay, Public Health Agency of Canada

Discussant
Wendy Katherine, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Community-based health promotion programs for children and their families: How the Public Health Agency of Canada is improving the health of recent immigrants This workshop will highlight the Public Health Agency of Canada’s community-based programs and their work in the health promotion of recent immigrants and their families. There will be an overview of the programs from a national perspective, along with specific regional issues and the experiences of projects delivering health promotion programming in the community.

Organizer
Dana Gaertner, Public Health Agency of Canada/Agence de santé publique du Canada

Participants
Jennette Toews, Public Health Agency of Canada – National Office /Agence de santé publique du Canada – Bureau central
CAPC and recent immigrants: A national health promotion program for children and their families

Blanca Serrano, Public Health Agency of Canada – Ontario Region /Agence de santé publique du Canada – Région de l’Ontario
Promoting the health and well-being of children and families in Ontario: Working with new immigrants

Julie Burdon, The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre
Innovative solutions that meet the needs of a diverse population at our prenatal and parenting programs

Marie-Michèle Delisle-Bédard, Maison pour femmes immigrantes
L’intervention auprès des femmes et de leurs enfants victimes ou exposés à la violence: succès et défis

Immigrant and refugee visible minority youth in Canada The presence of immigrant and refugee visible minority youth in Canada has enhanced the growth of Canada’s population and labour force. As this is an advantage for the country, it is also important to determine who these youth are, their circumstances, needs, and how they can contribute to Canada’s multicultural society.

Organizer
J. Alejandro Hernandez-Ramirez, Simon Fraser University

Participants
J. Alejandro Hernandez-Ramirez, Simon Fraser University
Miu Chung Yan, University of British Columbia
Tejwant Chana, University of Alberta
Dorla Harris, MOSAIC
Farah Prashadcolah, Youth Settlement Worker
Lianne Lee, Immigrant Sector Council of Calgary
Heather Robertson, Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc.
Cristina Guerrero, University of Toronto

Chair
J. Alejandro Hernandez-Ramirez, Simon Fraser University

Engaging immigrant children in Ontario and Quebec schools through the creation of multimodal identity texts How can teachers, researchers and community members collaboratively draw on the cultural and linguistic resources that immigrant children bring to their learning? This workshop examines how students’ expressions of their diverse identities and experiences through multimodal and multilingual creations deepen their engagement and facilitate their integration at school.

Organizer
Gail Prasad, University of Toronto
Marie Paule Lory, Université de Montréal

Participants
Marie Paule Lory, Université de Montréal
Quand le plurilinguisme prend corps dans des ateliers d’expression théâtrale et d’éveil aux langues

Gail Prasad, University of Toronto
What Moves Me? Exploring Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children’s representations of their mobilities through self-portraits and photography

Saskia Stille, University of Toronto
Engaging in cultural production at school: Using digital media to create identity texts with emergent bilingual children

Susan Hind, Toronto District School Board
Found in Translation: Showcasing home-school-community cultural and linguistic diversity through visual media creation

Amelia Jimenez, Inner City Angels
Found in Translation: Showcasing home-school-community cultural and linguistic diversity through visual media creation

Saturday March 3, 2012 Workshops

Muslim students in Canadian schools: Meeting students’ academic, social and faith-based needs How can Canadian schools meet the needs of their Muslim students? This session will highlight the findings from a study that included teachers’ voices, experiences and practices related to the schooling of their Muslim students, and discuss how schools and teachers attempt to support religious practices in a secular space.

Organizer
Ranya Khan, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Participants
Sararoz Niyozov, University of Toronto
Ranya Khan, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Arif Anwar, University of Toronto
Nadeem Memon, Razi Group
Uzma Jamil, McGill Transcultural Research and Intervention Team

Chair
Sararoz Niyozov, University of Toronto

International migration and maternity Maternity may amplify socioeconomic marginalization and the vulnerability of immigrant women. Reproduction is a critical event on the life trajectory and represents an imperative sphere of attention. This roundtable enables decisive exchange between researchers, and government and non-government representatives, regarding socioeconomic, political, and cultural processes perpetuating maternal health care inequities.

Organizer
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta

Participants
Deb Kocay, Public Health Agency of Canada
Myfanwy Morgan, King’s College London
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta
Annalita Shireen Bell, University of Alberta
Lanre Tunji-Ajay, Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario
Helen Vallianatos, University of Alberta

Chair
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta

Discussant
Deb Kocay, Public Health Agency of Canada

Immigrant mothers, health outcomes and promising practices to reduce health inequities Health inequities can affect immigrant and refugee mothers, and, as maternal health is a spread-used indicator to assess the state of well-being in most countries, there is a need to explore how immigrant mothers’ health can be affected once in Canada. Speakers at this workshop will showcase recent research on maternal health differences between immigrant and Canadian-born mothers. They will examine several health indicators and determinants of health as well as the maternal experiences, perceptions, knowledge, and practices of both populations. The workshop will also include the preliminary findings from the Migrant Friendly Maternity Care project as well as a community perspective on a number of resources and initiatives being implemented to address the reproductive needs of newcomer women and their families.

Organizer
Solange van Kemenade, Public Health Agency of Canada
Anita Gagnon, McGill University

Participants
Marcelo Urquia, Saint Michael’s Hospital
How immigrant women are doing in terms of maternal and infant health in Canada?

Dawn Kingston, University of Manitoba
Comparison of Maternity Experiences of Canadian-Born and Recent and Non-Recent Immigrant Women: Findings From the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey

Maureen Heaman, University of Manitoba
Comparison of Maternity Experiences of Canadian-Born and Recent and Non-Recent Immigrant Women: Findings From the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey

Saleha Bismilla, Toronto Public Health
Giving Birth in a New Land

Anita Gagnon, McGill University
Can Migrant Friendly Maternity Care (MFMC) improve perinatal health outcomes?

Chair
Solange van Kemenade, Public Health Agency of Canada

Refugee youth negotiating change This roundtable examines some of the diverse and interconnected challenges and opportunities refugee youth encounter as they negotiate various life transitions in the context of settlement in Canada. Discussion topics include education, settlement/youth services, creativity, mental health, social and cultural integration, gang involvement, sexuality, and employment.

Organizer
Alejandro Hernandez, Simon Fraser University
Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia

Participants
Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia
Paula Migliardi, Sexuality Education Resource Centre
Susan Frohlick, University of Manitoba
Marian Rossiter, University of Alberta
Nora Becker, Saskatchewan Intercultural Association
Wendy Auger, Immigrant Services Calgary
Jane Wambui Gichuru, University of Western Ontario
Zheng Zhang, University of Western Ontario
Sarah Fletcher, University of Victoria
Nona Grandea, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Chair
Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia

Poster Sessions

Des services communautaires qui bonifient la relation école-famille : le cas d’un organisme montréalais

Annick Lavoie, Université de Montréal
Fasal Kanouté, Université de Montréal
Justine Gosselin Gagné, Université de Montréal

Enhancing our ability to respond to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) newcomer youth within the settlement sector
Zack Marshall, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Tess Vo, Griffin Centre Mental Health Services

The Role of transnational families in immigrant settlement
Amrita Hari, York University

Grandparental caregiving in Chinese-Canadian immigrant families
Cynthia Sing-Yu Shih, York University
Yvonne Bohr, York University

Afghan newcomer youth in Toronto: Exploring leisure and information practices during settlement
Lisa Quirke, University of Toronto

Étudiants internationaux et persévérance aux études postsecondaires
Sarah Mainich, Université de Montréal

The African Canadian youth leadership project: Encouraging a critical reading of the Canadian urban landscape
Troy Glover, University of Waterloo
Debjani Henderson, University of Waterloo

Visit the Metropolis conference website for more information. To register, visit here.

Papers: Stories of undocumented youth

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth tells the story of the approximately 2 million children in the United States who are living “without legal status”, i.e., without “papers”.

These children arrive on American shores not by choice, but because their parents take them there for what they hope will be a better future. Many arrive as babies and small children and do not realize they are living precariously until they turn 18 and attempt to join the labour force, attend college or university or get a driver’s license – all of which require a social security card, an ID reserved for US citizens. These children, many who know no other country and often, language, are educated in US schools, hold US values and face a perilous future without “papers”.

My thanks to Graham Street Productions, for sending me a copy of the DVD  to review.

Papers follows five undocumented youth and tells their stories with the backdrop of the DREAM Act movement. The DREAM Act, a bipartisan initiative developed by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] and Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL], is a progressive policy response to the issue – with one caveat for the use of the word ‘alien’ in the acronym DREAM – ‘Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act’. The DREAM Act would provide “qualifying undocumented youth” eligibility to enter into a conditional path to full citizenship (for example, requiring youth to complete a college degree or give two years of military service prior to applying for citizenship).

Graham Street Productions, who worked with El Grupo Juvenil (the “Papers” youth crew) produced this inspiring documentary. It opens with a montage of demonstrations, both for and against immigration. There are some beautiful moments of peaceful marching and some harsh displays of hatred. Immigration – legal and otherwise – is a hotly debated issue in the US as it is here in Canada.

The documentary includes commentary from civil rights leaders, politicians, academics and researchers.  A unique parallel story links the LGBTQ movement with the immigration rights movement. One of the youth, Jorge, is both gay and undocumented. From the press release:

They realize that there is extraordinary power in their stories and in telling the truth. The boldness of it inspires us. By coming out as undocumented, they risk arrest, detention, and deportation. By coming out as queer, they risk being ostracized from their families, their churches, their cultures of origin and their communities. But in talking with these courageous young people, it is obvious that they are not going to stop being public about who they are. In some ways the most vulnerable, they are also the most brave. They, more than anyone, know the power of “coming out” and recognize that going public is the way to changes peoples’ hearts and minds.

It is a moving and compelling documentary that has been received with much acclaim. Watch the trailer here. Follow Papersthemovie on twitter at @papersthemovie. Order a copy of the DVD here.

“Coming to Canada: The price that children pay”

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Promised Land is a series of radio programs profiling “escape” stories of families who came to Canada in search of a better life. Produced by Natasha Fatah, the series includes stories of escapes from Argentina, Checkoslovakia, Eritrea, Honduras, Iran, Uganda, USA, and Vietnam.

In an op-ed on the CBC News website “Coming to Canada: The price that children pay”, Fatah reflects on the issues that immigrant and refugee children face:

“Some children who escape even to a country as seemingly embracing as Canada, are left deeply disturbed from the experience of having to uproot their lives and by the impact on their families”. (Source: CBC News website).

CBC Radio One runs the Promised Land series Mondays, 7:30pm, EDT and Fridays, 9:30am, EDT. You can also watch the series or download podcasts of it at the program website. A worthwhile series overall and immigrantchildren.ca is pleased to see children and youth issues highlighted by Fatah today.

Conference call: Migration and the global city, Toronto

Monday, May 10th, 2010

It looks like Ryerson University is working to launch a research institute devoted to immigration and settlement issues. Good luck to them. As part of this initiative, they are calling for proposals for a conference entitled “Migration and the Global City”. The conference, a launch to the proposed research centre, tentatively called the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement (RISS), will be held on the Ryerson campus from October 29-31, 2010.

A call for papers has been released here. Of particular interest to immigrantchildren.ca, conference themes include; Children and Youth; Citizenship, Migration and Identity; Precarious and Temporary Status; and Settlement Services.

The conference will feature a range of activities, including day-trips to local immigrant/settlement locations, a film-documentary screening and art-show, and a possible “CIHR-funded pre-conference on immigrant and refugee children and youth” (Source: Ryerson website). Ryerson – do let us know at immigrantchildren.ca how we can support this important inclusion!

Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 2010.

Metropolis conference: Immigration and diversity. Crossroads of culture, engine of economic development

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The 12th annual Metropolis conference will be held March 18-20, 2010 in Montreal. The theme this year is Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Culture, Engine of Economic Development. immigrantchildren.ca is pleased to see so many workshops and roundtables addressing issues related to newcomer families and young children, including:

Transnational Families: Where race, culture and adoption intersect, by Susan Crawford, lead for the Halton Multicultural Council project “Transracial Parenting Initiative”. From the abstract: “This workshop presents research on transracial and transnational families created through adoption across Canada. Presentations examine cultural enrichment through adoption, gaps in delivering pre- and post-adoption services and the needsof transracial familites; and adult adoptees’ complex experiences and understandings of ethno-racial identity”.

Conflict and Violence in Immigrant Families, by Madine VanderPlaat, St. Mary’s University. From the abstract: “This workshop will examine issues related to gender, conflict and violence within immigrant families. Participants will discuss the factors that contribute to stressors as well as the challenges and opportunities for culturally competent social responses”.

Health and Access to it for Migrants after Birth, by Anita Gagnon, Denise Bradshaw, Marlo Turner-Ritchie. From the abstract: “Tri-city (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal) data on the health and service needs of refugee, asylum-seeking, non-refugee immigrant and Canadian-born women and their infants during pregnancy, at birth and during the first four months after birth will be presented in conjunction with potential policy responses to these date”.

School, Community and Collaborative Practice: Fostering the Integration of Immigrant and Refguee Youth in the Canadian School Context, by Sophie Yohani, N. Ernest Khalema. From the abstract: “Creating welcoming communities in educational settings is vital for newcomer students who may have a history that hinders adaptation. This workshop brings together academic researchers, non-profit practitioners, a government program officer, and a graduate student who share expertise in community-based collaborative practice to address the adaptation of refugee and immigrant students in the Canadian school context”.

Taking Care into Consideration: Local and Transnational Implications for Families, Children and Youth, by Alexandra Dobrowolsky and Evangelia Tastsoglou. From the abstract: “Familial networks, local and transnational, are critical to immigrants’ decision-making processes. The accommodation of care concerns (care of children, elderly parents, etc). also becomes a key consideration for migrants, especially for women. This workshop explores the repercussions of familial networks, and the complex negotiation of care concerns vis-a-vis attraction and retention”.

For more details on the above, see the conference program page.

Family immigration

Friday, January 15th, 2010

US based Immigration Policy Center, the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council, has released a paper today on family immigration. Family Immigration: Repairing Our Broken Immigration System addresses the challenges, gaps and lays out what they see as “the key principles for family immigration within the context of  comprehensive immigration reform”. Some useful information for Canada to also consider. An excerpt from the introduction follows.

Principles for reform of the family immigration system:

  • Family unification must remain a fundamental pillar of U.S. immigration policy. Proposals that sacrifice family immigration for the sake of employment-based immigration create an unfair and erroneous dichotomy. Family immigrants work and contribute to the U.S. in many ways. Both the family-based and employment-based immigration systems can be fixed without sacrificing one for the other.
  • The current backlog of family-based immigrants must be cleared, and law-abiding families must be reunited in a humane and reasonable timeline. There are several possible options to clear the backlogs and promote family unification, including moving spouses and minor children into the “immediate relatives” category.
  • The spouses and minor children of legalized immigrants must be issued visas at the time of the primary applicant’s legalization. Including spouses and children in the legalization provisions will help to prevent future backlogs.
  • Unused and unclaimed family-based visas must be recaptured, and a mechanism to ensure that future unused visas are not wasted must be created. Congress authorizes a set number of visas to be made available annually. When these visas go unused, the problems with backlogs only worsen. Recapturing visas would not overstep the numerical limits set by Congress, but it would alleviate some of the consequences of visa oversubscription.
  • The numerical caps on family-based immigration must be revisited and brought in line with current realities. The last adjustments to the numerical caps were made in 1990.  These numbers must be reconsidered and brought up to 21st century requirements.
  • USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) must receive the resources necessary to resolve backlogged family immigration cases and ensure that processing backlogs do not reoccur. True reform means eliminating the circumstances that led to the problems in the first place.

No right to dream: New research on undocumented migrants, UK

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Commissioned by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the research project “No Right to Dream: Young Undocumented Migrants” will be conducted in three regions (London, North West and the Midlands).

From the brief: “The research will therefore focus on the voices of young undocumented migrants about which little is known and will explore and develop the key themes around lives and livelihoods including: experiences of employment; social networks; community involvement; links and obligations with friends and family in their country of origin; how being undocumented impacts on their lives and the longer term goals and aspirations of young undocumented migrants”.

For more information, including PDF briefs in English, Portuguese, Chinese, Kurdish, Turkish, Ukranian, Sbona, Ndeble at the Young Undocumented Migrants website.

Canadian Council for Refugees winter working group meetings

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

The Canadian Council for Refugees Winter Working Group meetings will be held in Toronto February 26-27/10. On Fri Feb 26/10, 2 working groups will address Overseas Protection and Sponsorship and Immigration and Settlement. On Sat Feb 27/10, the working group will be meeting on Inland Protection. All working group meetings will include discussion of family reunification. See the page for more information.

Folks who attend the CCR meetings rave about them. Have you ever been?