On Thursday night, the Canadian government welcomed 163 Syrian refugees into the country with open arms:
Welcome to Canada. pic.twitter.com/xEOn44GjJF
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 11, 2015
At Pearson, Joja Smiljanic & Christine Ross drove from Guelph to greet #SyrianRefugees with Tim Hortons gift cards pic.twitter.com/3PSamI7Qvm
— Sarah-JoyceBattersby (@sjbattersby) December 11, 2015
“This is a wonderful night where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations,” newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a group of staff members and volunteers shortly before the refugees’ arrival.
“Welcome to Canada. Ahlan wa sahlan. You’re with family now,” an editorial for the Toronto Star read:
The @TorontoStar front page today pic.twitter.com/KEcC86IRIc
— ishmael n. daro (@iD4RO) December 10, 2015
Their arrival marks the first of 25,000 refugees Trudeau’s government has pledged to take in by March. During Trudeau’s campaign for office, it was discovered that the three-year-old boy who drowned near a beach in Turkey had been attempting to flee Syria with his family to Canada. Those powerful images made the refugee crisis a major election issue.
Canada’s reception to the refugees’ arrival on Thursday sharply contrasts with the continued effort by some American leaders from various states to block the resettlement of refugees in the United States, particularly in the wake of the Paris attacks and the recent shooting in San Bernardino, California. This week, Syrian refugees arrived in Texas and Indiana, despite efforts by the Republican governors there to stop them.
All week, Republican front-runner Donald Trump has doubled down on his campaign promise to bar all Muslims from entering the United States if he makes it to the White House.