Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a stand on social media against the temporary US ban signed by Donald Trump on refugees and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump’s order bans Syrian refugees, claiming they are “detrimental” to the interests of the United States, and suspends the refugee admissions program for all countries for 120 days. It will also suspend the issue of visas to nationals of countries where the US believes they do not provide enough information on an applicant to decide whether or not they are a security or public safety threat.
Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” he said in a speech at the Pentagon.
Trump’s executive action fulfills his campaign promise to bar Syrian refugees and partially fulfills his vow to temporarily ban Muslims from the U.S. — a promise he later amended to apply only to people from certain Muslim-majority countries.
The order means that about 500,000 green card holders who reside in the U.S. but are originally from one of the seven countries will need a waiver to return to their homes, White House officials said Saturday. It also applies to people from the seven countries who hold dual citizenship and are not U.S. citizens. This means that people of both French and Yemeni nationality, for example, would be denied entry.
During his run for president, Trump repeatedly suggested that Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants are likely terrorists.
Justin Trudeau has responded to Donald Trump’s immigration ban by saying Canada welcomes refugees who have been rejected from the US.
The Canadian Prime Minister also said he intends on talking to Trump about the success of the refugee and immigration policy in Canada.
Trudeau made the plea on social media and also uploaded an image of him greeting a Syrian child at Toronto airport.
“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” he tweeted.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
The tweet has received over 369,000 retweets so far and “Welcome to Canada” began trending in the country.
The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, echoed Trudeau’s sentiments saying: “We understand that as Canadians we are almost all immigrants, and that no one should be excluded on the basis of their ethnicity or nationality,” CBS News reported.
The Canadian government is also in contact with the US administration “to get more clarity” on how the executive orders will affect Canadians citizens travelling to the US, said federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
Trudeau has refrained from criticising Trump, despite the fact the two leaders have divergent political views.
In recent media appearances, the prime minister has focused on the long friendship between Canada and the US and the deep economic ties between the two nations. The US is Canada’s primary trading partner.
Canada changed the face of Refugee Crisis
Canada began welcoming Syrian refugees in larger numbers in 2015, after a promise to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by 2016. Through 2016, Canada gave the world a lesson about dealing with the refugees and the refugee crisis.
The new arrivals were greeted with much fanfare, including a smiling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming the first planeload at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Dec. 10 with winter coats.
Across the country, Syrians have arrived in new neighborhoods and schools and, as with so many waves of immigrants before them, both the refugees and the communities that received them worked together to create the integration they both seek.
After a year of the first wave of newcomers, Trudeau met again with the people he welcomed by himself.
Justin Trudeau broke down in tears as he was reunited with a Syrian refugee he welcomed into Canada last year.
Vanig Garabedian and his family arrived in the city after fleeing the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo last December. He described meeting the Prime Minister at the airport and how he felt welcomed into the country after witnessing the horrors of war in his beloved home country.
“When I met the Prime Minister, he said two words: ‘Welcome home’,” Garabedian told a visibly emotional Trudeau. “So imagine, you are leaving a war zone, leaving your home and you are welcomed by two words. My memories at that moment went back to Syria before the war, our life and happiness there and the horrible moments we went through during the war. So I felt that I am proud to be here and now, after one year, I am proud to be Canadian as I always will be proud to be Syrian.”
Trudeau explained his tears: “Being there in the name of all Canadians to welcome people was really important […] witnessing you and your girls walk through the airport towards me was a moment in which I understood just the kind of things we could do as a country and that I can help this country do. You wouldn’t have been walking on Canadian soil that night if I hadn’t said: ‘We can do this together’ and made it done. That, for me, was as strong and clear a reinforcement that I was going to be okay in this job.
“Seeing you here today, I told myself I would not get emotional about this, but it is just a wonderful moment for me but it is also a reflection of what is best about Canada,” he said.
Under Trudeau’s relatively new premiership last year, the Canadian government implemented a plan to accept 25,000 refugees. Since 4 November 2015 over 35,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the country. A further 20,000 applications from refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries are being processed.
Canada plans to allow 300,000 immigrants into the country in 2017, mostly through economic immigration, though that figure includes 40,000 refugees.