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Published On: Fri, Jan 1st, 2016

Canada to Accept 10,000 Syrian Refugees

Canada is forging ahead with its plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees before the year is over. Canada’s resettlement plan originally called for some 25,000 refugees to be relocated, but the deadline for this number has been extended. Though there have been concerns in recent months that Canada won’t be able to meet the quota of 10,000 either, the government’s process for welcoming these new immigrants is gradually becoming more efficient.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s recently elected prime minister, has taken a decisively liberal stance on the issue of refugee-based immigration. The Canadian government offers several programs to help refugees settle into the country with the resources they need to get by; including financial and housing assistance and, in some cases, the ability to speak to a visa attorney on Canada’s dime. When compared to the United States, the path to Canadian citizenship may be an easier road for Syrian refugees to walk.

Canada’s ‘Generous Commitment’

Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says that of the 10,000 Syrian refugees, approximately 60 per cent are to be sponsored by private groups and 40 per cent are to be sponsored by the government.

Syrians hold photos of Assad and Putin during a pro-regime protest in front of the Russian embassy in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 4, 2012. Flickr FreedomHouse

Syrians hold photos of Assad and Putin during a pro-regime protest in front of the Russian embassy in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 4, 2012. Flickr FreedomHouse

Canada’s pledge came at a time when the number of Syrian refugees was beginning to overtake the number of refugees from Afghanistan. By June 2014, a report from the United Nations said the number of Syrian refugees had officially outnumbered Afghans as the largest refugee group under protection of the UN.

The report stated: “At more than three million as of June 2014, Syrian refugees now account for 23 per cent of all refugees being helped by UNHCR worldwide.”

The UN Refugee Agency called Canada’s pledge a “generous commitment,” and stated:

“This substantial pledge is in keeping with Canada’s strong humanitarian tradition to offer resettlement to refugees worldwide.”

2011 cartoon by Carlos Latuff

2011 cartoon by Carlos Latuff

The Worst Humanitarian Crisis Of Our Time

Just how bad is the Syrian refugee crisis? Estimates vary, but civilian casualties in the Syrian Civil War range from 74 to 77 thousand men, women, and children. Including soldiers and militants, over 300,000 people have died in the deadly conflict thus far. Some 8 million people have been displaced by the war, with over 4 million fleeing the country as refugees.

In an article for The Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor argues that the current crisis resembles the Jewish refugee crisis during World War II. “It’s important to recognize that this is hardly the first time the West has warily eyed masses of refugees,” he wrote.

Tharoor compares the public reaction of the Jewish refugees, many of whom perished, to contemporary reactions to Syrian immigration, especially in certain areas of the United States. “While some characterize Muslim arrivals as a supposedly unique threat,” he wrote, “the xenophobia of the present carries direct echoes of a very different moment: The years before World War II, when tens of thousands of German Jews were compelled to flee Nazi Germany.”

Despite the controversy, President Barack Obama has assured the international community that the U.S. is committed, just like Canada, to relocating 10,000 displaced people. Unfortunately, not every country has been so accepting of refugees.

When thousands of displaced Syrians arrived at the border of Hungary, militant security forces responded with violence. A report from Amnesty International states that Hungary “invested more than 100 million euros on razor-wire fencing and border controls to keep refugees and migrants out.”

Guest Author: Lolita Di

Cartoon by Carlos Latuff 2011 wikimedia commons

Cartoon by Carlos Latuff 2011 wikimedia commons

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Canada Financial Planning | Best Stock Market Place says:

    […] Canada to Accept 10,000 Syrian Refugees – Canada’s resettlement plan originally called for some 25,000 refugees to be … refugees settle into the country with the resources they need to get by; including financial and housing assistance and, in some cases … […]

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