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Many undocumented immigrants in Winnipeg afraid to access basic city services that could save their lives

Click to play video: 'Many undocumented immigrants in Winnipeg afraid to access basic city services that could save their lives' Many undocumented immigrants in Winnipeg afraid to access basic city services that could save their lives
WATCH: Undocumented immigrants living in Winnipeg say they’re often too worried to ask for help when they need it most for fear of deportation. Global's Zahra Premji reports – Nov 21, 2017

Many undocumented immigrants living in Winnipeg say they’re often too worried to ask for help when they need it most for fear of deportation.

They worry if they get in to a crash or need medical help, they can’t ask for it because of the fear that someone helping them could turn around and report them to other levels of government or the border service agency.

RELATED: Council refers ‘Access Without Fear’ policy to provincial, federal governments

Abdikheir Ahmed is the Director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg.

He said he, along with several other immigration services in Manitoba, have joined together to push for a don’t ask and don’t tell type of policy that has been adopted in other cities, called an access without fear policy.

RELATED: Montreal declared a ‘sanctuary city:’ What does that mean?

The policy is a promise of sorts that would mean city staff would not ask for immigration status when providing a possible undocumented immigrant a service. This would include city staff such s as police, paramedics, and even librarians.

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“They’re scared of going to the library because they fear that the library is going to ask for their immigration documentation,” Ahmed said.

He said he’s heard horror stories from undocumented immigrants in abusive situations or very sick but too afraid to turn to the services that could help and support them because they fear they’d be deported.

“They need the support because if they don’t access the services offered by the municipality then they’re likely to fall in to danger,” Ahmed said.

One undocumented immigrant, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of deportation, told Global News about a time he was chased down the streets of Winnipeg and afraid he would be killed. He said he was in danger and being chased by 15 guys, but he couldn’t call the cops because he worried they would report him to the government and have him sent back home to his war torn country.

 

 

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