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Immigration Officers Randomly Checks ID’s of Toronto Citizens

Immigration Officers Randomly Checks ID’s of Toronto Citizens

Immigration Officers Randomly Checks ID’s of Toronto Citizens

By Matthew Salomon

Just a few years ago, the act of “carding” or street check of random citizens by police was eradicated in Ontario completely by new regulations that were put in place by the Ontario government. Unknown to many, the act of carding was used as an intelligence gathering policy by the police in Ontario and the main users were the Toronto Police Service. The act involves stopping, questioning, and documenting of random people even if they have not committed a particular offense. Many Canadians find this policy unfair and useless, mainly because citizens believe it mainly targeted those of different colour and race, and was therefore not random at all. Instead, it was used as a way to discriminate against people that the police thought were suspicious. In the end, carding was made illegal and could no longer be used by any officer. However, incidents involving carding have popped up once again in the city and are allegedly being carried out by immigration officers.

CREDIT: CityNews

These incidents have caused concerns in some communities due to the fact that carding should no longer be taking place. Even though these acts are technically illegal, there is unfortunately no oversight body to monitor the enforcement agency. This means that agencies, such as Immigration Services, can carry out the illegal act of carding without being reprimanded for their actions. The agency that is supposedly committing these acts, also known as the Canadian Border Service Agency, is seen as somewhat ungovernable and have been known to play by their own rules. Many immigration specialists also claim that they target specific individuals and groups, they jail them for long periods of time, and seem to have no one holding them liable for their actions.

These incidents have been occurring for quite awhile now, and have shown no signs of slowing down. For instance, a couple of months ago prior to Federal elections, immigration officers were reported to be around the intersection of Weston and Lawrence. Citizens say that the immigration officers were stopping people and asking for ID. An account from an individual who was a victim of this alleged carding was actually taken by City News. It was mentioned in the news that he was at a convenience store purchasing cigarettes, and when he was done he walked out of the store and noticed a man and a woman, who were both dressed casually, taking people aside, mainly of colour and questioning them. Said man and woman then confronted him, identified themselves as immigration officers, and showed him their badges. They began to ask him for ID to prove he was actually a legal citizen of Canada, so he gave them his driver’s license to which they responded by saying he was lying. The Officers only believed him once he provided them with his wife’s name, and they responded by saying that he did not look like his ethnicity, most likely because he had a dark complexion. This one account is presumably not even close to the only ones that have previously taken place, however, these incidents had no valid explanation behind them, which lead some to believe that it was all just a scam.

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) was questioned about the incidents and did clarify that they did have officers in the area on that specific date, but they will not give any details as to what they were doing in the area. The CBSA was continually questioned until they responded further with the facts that they do not discuss ongoing investigations or provide any information relating to their investigative techniques or plans for specific lawful investigations. They continued their response in a second statement saying that said, “the CBSA does not conduct random street checks.” Even with these statements from them, advocates against the CBSA still say that these statements are untrue. They said that the CBSA have used similar racial profiling checks in the past, and that these methods do not even end at street checks, in fact they go as far as to raiding workplaces where undocumented people may be working. They have been criticized multiple times for using these biased and discriminatory methods, yet they continue to use them whenever they need too. A government agency as important as the CBSA should know that what they are doing is against the law, if they wanted to detain or search an individual they would need a warrant, yet they follow their own rules and guidelines. This uncontrollable behaviour leaves many wondering if the newly elected Liberal minority government will notice it and what they will do about, if they do anything at all, of course.


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