Reimer Writes
writer | editor | artist | citizen
eggskull_one.png

Blog

Slowest blog in the west. Do you want quantity or do you want quality?

Email to Canadian government regarding U.S. government being dicks to refugee families

I cried for six hours yesterday and didn't go to my parents' house to see my 91-year-old grandmother, who is visiting from out of town. (I'll go see her today). And the vicarious trauma I've been feeling from all of the news from our neighbours to the south has me so filled with anxiety that I feel like peeling my own scalp off.

However, today I sat down and donated $100 to ActBlue, which is working to help families separated by the United States by sending your donation where it's most needed (I don't really have the money to spare right now but that's not important). Visit secure.actblue.com/donate/kidsattheborder. If you are in the United States, or even if you are not, this Slate article also has useful information on how you can fight what's happening: slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/06/how-you-can-fight-family-separation-at-the-border

I also sat down and wrote this email to my MP, cc'ing the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Prime Minister. I dunno if it will do any good, but feel free to adapt and modify for your own purposes. Sorry for airing the family laundry, mom.

To: Nikki Reimer <nikki.reimer@gmail.com>,
kent.hehr@parl.gc.ca,
Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca,
Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca,
Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca

June 17, 2018

Mr. Kent Hehr, MP

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON

Dear Mr. Hehr,

I am writing with concern regarding the new American policy to separate children from their parents at the border while seeking asylum. According to Time Magazine, nearly 2,000 kids were separated from their families within a six-week period from April 19 through to May 31 (http://time.com/5314128/trump-immigration-family-separation-2000-children/) I would like to know what Canada is planning to do both to help these families, and to pressure the United States to reverse this policy. I hope you will do everything you can to ensure that Canada remains a global leader in human rights and protection of children.

While I have not worked professionally in the areas of immigration and justice, I am a person who was raised by a mother who had four miscarriages from the time that I was two till the time that I was five, which meant that my primary caregiver was stressed, traumatized and emotionally unavailable during a critical time of development in my own young life. My beloved only sibling died as an adult six years ago. Both of these experiences gave me intimate knowledge of the effect that family trauma can have on a developing brain, as well as on the traumatic and lasting effects of family separation. Believe me when I say that there is no greater pain than the sudden loss of a family member. Because of this, I am very concerned about the inhumane treatment of young children who are being taken from their mothers; doctors are now concerned about "irreparable harm" to separated migrant children (https://www.npr.org/2018/06/15/620254326/doctors-warn-about-dangers-of-child-separations).

The Federal Liberal Party has committed to offer protection to those seeking asylum from war, terror, and persecution, including welcoming in Syrian refugees since November 4, 2015, and the work done by the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program more generally. Please now stand up and take leadership against the forced separation of families by the United States government, which would include:

  • Repealing the Canada-United States Safe Third Country Agreement

  • Pressuring the United States government to reverse its policy of separating families who are seeking asylum

  • Supporting any actions taken by the United Nations in response to the United States family separation policy

  • Supporting any actions taken by the United Nations or other groups working to re-unite families who have been separated while seeking asylum

Thank you for your commitment in the past to human rights and support for refugees. What will you now do to pressure the United States government to end its cruel policy of separating children from their parents at the border? Will you call for the repeal of the Canada-United States Safe Third Country Agreement? What specific actions will you take to end family separation by our neighbour? Please respond with answers to these key questions.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Ms. Nikki Reimer

[Address redacted]

CC: Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Right Honourable Justin P. J. Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada