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Race, Ethnicity, Indigenous Peoples and Politics

L03(a) - Reflecting on Immigration, Communities, the Ethics of Care, and the Carceral State

Date: Jun 4 | Time: 10:30am to 12:00pm | Location: SWING 106

Chair/Président/Présidente : Fiona MacDonald (University of the Fraser Valley)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Fiona MacDonald (University of the Fraser Valley)

Temporary Migrant Workers, Canadian Citizenship and the Construction of Foreign Families: Megan Gaucher (Carleton University)
Abstract: In 2017, the Trudeau government announced their plan to process eighty percent of backlogged permanent residence applications from those who came to Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Citing the hardships of prolonged family reunification, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen blamed the previous Conservative government for the program’s “unreasonable delays,” and promised his government would rectify a bureaucratic obstacle that has kept families apart for too long (Kennedy 2017). While the alleviation of application backlog is a welcomed development, it is but one obstacle live-in caregivers, and temporary migrant workers more generally, encounter when seeking family reunification. After becoming permanent residents, temporary migrant workers’ applications for family sponsorship are potentially compromised by a variety of factors including, but not limited to, financial constraints (Tungohan et al. 2015), demands on medical and social services (Keung 2017), the absence of an affective family bond (van Walsum 2009), and increased policing of marriage fraud (Gaucher 2014). Family reunification continues to be identified as a policy priority by Canadian governments; however, the Trudeau government's failure to comprehensively address these obstacles suggests that not all families are considered ‘fit’ for Canadian citizenship. Through an analysis of parliamentary Hansard, media statements and court transcripts, this paper examines how migrant workers and their families are taken up in policy circles. In mapping these discourses, this paper highlights how concepts of “skill” and “family” are both racialized and gendered, ultimately used to construct migrant workers and their families as permanently temporary.


Re-Imagining Immigration Through the Ethics of Care: Lindsay Larios (Concordia University)
Abstract: In the wake of ongoing migration crises and debates, Dauvergne (2016) has pointed to a “policy paralysis in immigration regulation” under which our current guiding conceptual narratives of economics and human rights have been inadequate in providing solutions to the globe’s most pressing migration problems. From this, Dauvergne suggests the need for re-imagining immigration in a way that re-orients us to value “immigration for reasons that are not economic, and [advocate] on the basis of reasons that are not rights” (2016, p. 205). These critiques align with those made by scholars of care ethics, who have voiced concerns regarding the primacy of economics in our politics and the limitations of human rights frameworks to bring about justice (Tronto, 2013). This paper will argue that care ethics provides a plausible framework from which to re-imagine immigration politics, shifting our focus to the relational elements of immigration. Further, we need to extend our care ethics and beyond the context of a caring state in which members care for each other (Tronto, 2013), to come to understand citizenship and migration statuses more broadly as tools used by the state to set limits on caring obligations (Sharma, 2006). It will therefore be suggested that re-imagining of immigration grounded in care ethics is an imagining which must take its cue from movements which resist the ways nation states and global systems convince us that “you can’t have affective ties at a global level” (Jefferies, 2015), despite the numerous other ways globalization ties us together.


In Search of Hajar's Water:Learning from Muslim and Indigenous Communities of Care: Sarah Munawar (University of British Columbia)
Abstract: From the Yaqeen Institute’s publications on race and coloniality, to the writings and activisms of Muslim scholars on addressing anti-blackness and queerphobia within the Muslim community, to the summer schools for de-colonial Critical Muslim Studies in Granada, Kerala and Cape Town, Muslim scholars from all over the world are surfacing a framework of de-colonial thought and anti-oppresion praxis from within the Islamic tradition. I develop a de-colonial and Islamic ethic of care through the stories of Muslim-Indigenous communities of care in Canada. Muslim-settlers are complicit in the dispossession of Indigenous peoples by the Canadian state. Moral responsibility, in the Islamic tradition, requires us to not only acknowledge and care for the land we are sustained by, but also to create just relations with its rightful owners. And so, in our intentions to settle on this land we cannot be absolved of the set of legal and moral responsibilities that arise from within the Islamic faith to Indigenous peoples. How can we account for our relation to the land, to Indigenous peoples, our positionality as settlers in our niyyah (intentions)? Using various cases of Muslim-Indigenous anti-oppression collaborations such as the “Canadian Prayer Rug”, I explore what what is not inscribed into the materiality of the rug, but still remains as a constitutive feature of its production, are the relational affinities nurtured between its creators, the intimate, and intricate, moments of knowledge translation,and openings within the hearts of its creators to tend to the wounds caused by settler-colonialism and Islamaphobia.


A Strategy of State: Relational Securitization in the Settler Colonial Racial State: Nisha Nath (Athabasca University)
Abstract: Rooted in a larger project about the relational securitization of dissidence, in this paper, I argue that citizenship, immigration and security are primary tools through which the white supremacist settler colonial state secures itself as natural and legitimate. As a political strategy and technology of racialized subjectivity, white supremacist settler governmentality needs immigrants of colour and racialized labourers in service of the liberal multicultural state’s assertion of sovereignty and in service of ongoing capitalist economic exploitation. Relational securitization as a strategy of the state means that rightlessness, hyperpoliticization, visibility and foreignness adhere to racialized settlers/arrivants and Indigenous People in distinct but profoundly reliant ways. To explore these complexities, I consider the case of Abdoul Abdi and build on my previous work on the Anti-Terrorism Act (2015) to examine how settlers of colour/arrivants and Indigenous People are relationally securitized. I consider Abdi’s case in light of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision in First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada et al. v. Attorney General of Canada. The impetus for this paper is rooted in my own positionality as a settler of colour, and my interest in considering possibilities for solidarity that disrupt the imperatives of the white supremacist settler colonial state.