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Union boss slams border agency in wake of arrests at Hastings Racecourse

Last Updated Aug 23, 2019 at 8:45 am PDT

FILE: The PNE and Hastings Racecourse in East Vancouver are seen from the air in the summer of 2019. (Source: Riley Phillips/NEWS 1130)

A union representing workers at Hastings Racecourse is calling Monday's raid absolutely shameful and disgraceful

The union is calling for a review of the CBSA following the targeted raid

Province says the probe involves securing the integrity of licencing and registration at the Hastings Racecourse

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A union president has called for a review of the Canada Border Services Agency following a targeted raid at Hastings Racecourse earlier this week.

David Black of MoveUp, which represents workers at the race track, said on Thursday that members are shaken up and disturbed by Monday’s raid, calling the workers taken into custody part of the union’s “extended family.”

“Particularly disturbing are the reports that all racialized workers, even those who were not ultimately escorted away, were harassed by the officials conducting the raid,” Black said in a statement.

“These are individuals who are no different than we are,” he added. “They want to build a good life, contribute to our society and economy, and support their families. To see them put on public display in a fashion designed to humiliate is absolutely shameful and disgraceful.”

It appears a number of workers did not have proper documentation, and the raid came as part of an investigation into a government employee with the provincial agency in charge of policing the gaming industry.

“Following a complaint received by the Attorney General in October 2018, the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) immediately launched an investigation,” a ministry spokesperson said. “GPEB uncovered information through its investigation that led to the referral of the matter to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for assistance. CBSA subsequently led and directed enforcement action at Hastings Racecourse.”

Staff with Attorney General David Eby’s office have confirmed they’re working with the CBSA to secure the “integrity” of licensing and registration at the racecourse in Vancouver.

They say this stems from a complaint filed in October about a worker with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, who no longer has access to any GPEB offices or government systems.

However, Black is calling on the federal government to have the workers who are detained released, and to “review the practices and policies with respect to the methods in which CBSA deals with people and communities to ensure that human rights are not violated, community trust and safety is not jeopardized, and that racialized peoples are not unjustly profiled and targeted.”

He believes it’s time B.C. becomes a sanctuary province. A place is deemed a sanctuary if police forces and other agencies agree not to report people with irregular immigration status.