“Toronto is not living up to its commitments of being a sanctuary city,” said Dr. Graham Hudson, an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director for the Department of Criminology at Ryerson University.
During Ryerson School of Journalism’s Teach-In this past Tuesday, Hudson discussed specifically refugee law and how Toronto, although considered a sanctuary city, is not meeting the standards of one.
The government uses terminology which can cause a difficult barrier between journalists and clear reporting. Phrases such as “bogus refugees” and “illegal immigrants” are used interchangeably to divert the focus from what’s really important, said Hudson.
Understanding proper terminology and knowing what classifies a legal from illegal immigrant and what rights and services are entitled to these terms help clarify debates which involve refugee statuses. Hudson brought this to the audiences’ attention and specifically to the journalists in the room. Language is a powerful tool, often manipulated.
A sanctuary city is said to provide all residents with access to municipal and police services regardless of immigration status. Unfortunately there are countless examples where it is evident that the Municipal government is not following this definition. This again, is another powerful example as to how a term such as “sanctuary city” is skewed.
In an example presented during Hudson’s discussion, he explained that a family called child services because of reported abuse in the home. The family was then deported due to their immigration status. This in fact discourages refugees from using the services they are promised in Toronto, which are basic human rights.
Toronto was declared the first sanctuary city in 2014 yet city council has not provided any additional funding to set this in motion.