MONTREAL -- Protesters from Solidarity Across Borders, a migrant justice network, honked their horns outside the Laval immigration holding centre on May 17 to decry the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)’s use of electronic tracking bracelets on migrants upon their release.

“There is no reason for migrants to be detained at the best of times, whether in dedicated detention centres or provincial prisons. This prison must remain empty,” said protester Ella Roy in a news release. “In the context of a pandemic, keeping people in these institutions is a death sentence.”

There are currently three detainees remaining at the Laval immigration holding centre, according to the group.

The demonstration then moved to the Riviere-des-Prairies jail, where the group claims 15 migrants are being detained by the CBSA as of April 28.

“Quebec’s jails have the highest COVID-19 infection rate of any province, but the government has refused calls for a comprehensive release plan,” said demonstrator Shayla Tremblay in a news release. “Prisoners are being recklessly exposed to the virus, forced into lockdown without showers, some going days without drinking water. When prisoners have taken action to protest these life-threatening conditions, guards have responded by using pepper spray and force.”

The demonstration ended at the John Howard Society.

This comes after four men detained at the Laval immigration holding centre started a hunger strike with the aim of obtaining their release and getting medical attention to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The CBSA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.