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International student workers occupy and win!

Prerna Subramanian

June 16, 2023
Hundreds of students faced with deportation have been occupying the CBSA site on Airport road for more than 2 weeks. The constant demo has brought support from labour, faith and community organizations. And the fight has paid off. The Federal government has stayed all the deportations until investigations can be completed. 
The students had fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by unscrupulous immigration agents who had sent them fraudulent admission letters. This is a far too common type of fraud used to exploit international students for financial gain. 
Deportation of these students must be understood within the broader context of forced/compulsory migration, a phenomenon influenced by the dynamics of neoliberal globalization and unequal development. The threat of deportation for these students highlights several key aspects of forced migration. Firstly, it emphasizes the geographical disparities that drive individuals to migrate from less privileged regions to more developed areas, whether within their own country or across international borders. Seeking improved opportunities and living conditions, these students ventured to Canada, a relatively advanced nation compared to their places of origin. This underscores the economic inequalities and limited prospects that propel individuals to seek a better life elsewhere.
Secondly, forced/compulsory migration disproportionately affects vulnerable populations who are unable to fulfill their basic material and subjective needs in their home countries. In this particular case, unscrupulous recruiters exploit the aspirations of these students, enticing them with false promises and ensnaring them in precarious situations where their futures are endangered. Motivated by a desire for better education and future prospects, these students fall prey to individuals who exploit their vulnerability for personal gain. Threat of deportation of these students also reflects the exportation of labor resources from their countries of origin to Canada. This transfer of labor contributes to the restructuring of global labor markets, where countries with higher demands for skilled labor attract migrants from regions with limited opportunities. The deportation of these students disrupts their efforts to contribute their skills and knowledge to the Canadian society they have become a part of. This loss of talent and contributions emphasizes the detrimental impact of expulsion on both the affected individuals and the destination country.
But students are winning this fight, and they also require that we stand with them. As we write this, deportation orders have been stayed, in response to the protests. But the fight is not over and many questions remain.
As socialists, it is crucial to stand in solidarity with migrant students, condemning the actions of fraudulent agents, and demanding systemic change that prioritizes the well-being and rights of all individuals. To support the ongoing battle for international students, I encourage you to follow organizations such as the Naujawan Support Networkand the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, where you can stay informed about recent developments and take part in meaningful actions.

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