The uncertainty surrounding U.S. immigration policies has prompted a number of Canadian cities to declare themselves sanctuaries for undocumented migrants. But as cities move to protect migrants from deportation orders, it is creating the prospect for tensions between municipal governments, law enforcement and federal immigration officials.
Montreal’s city council voted unanimously on Monday to approve a motion that seeks to ensure non-status migrants are able to obtain municipal services without fear of being deported. London, Ont., passed a similar motion last month — also unanimously — just days after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump announced its travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries.
City councillors in Regina and Saskatoon have raised the possibility of passing their own versions of a sanctuary motion. Winnipeg, too, is considering following suit. A municipal committee in Ottawa will hear from the public next month about whether to give itself the sanctuary city designation.
In 2013, Toronto was the first sanctuary city in Canada. Its city council passed a motion in January reaffirming its commitment to services and protection to undocumented migrants.
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