The U.S.'s Attitude Toward Refugees Is the Opposite of Canada's

December 11th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

Canada welcomed more than 160 Syrian refugees to the country on Thursday—the first of an estimated 25,000 that Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to accept by February. The country's embrace of refugees stands in stark contrast to the U.S., which continues to debate the pros and cons of allowing refugees to enter.

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"We really would like to thank you for all this hospitality and the warm welcome and all the staff," said Kevork Jamkossian, one of the first refugees to exit the plane. "We felt ourselves highly respected."

"You are home. Welcome home," Trudeau replied.

This small, symbolic gesture reflects an attitude towards refugees in Canada that is unlike that observed in the U.S. While President Barack Obama announced that the country would accept 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, more than half of U.S. governors have voiced opposition to the resettlement program locating refugees in their states, arguing that it would put the country at risk of violent extremism.

The attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have contributed to a rise in anti-Islamic attitudes in America, and some politicians have insisted that welcoming refugees from Syria is too dangerous—that the international and federal screening process is insufficient to protect the U.S. from terrorism.

We should all praise Canada for their heartwarming response to refugees.

Posted by ATTN: on Friday, December 11, 2015

In Canada, support for Trudeau's refugee resettlement plan stands at 48 percent and 44 percent oppose the plan, CBC News reports. In the U.S., 53 percent oppose Obama's plan, and 11 percent support accepting only Christian refugees from Syria.

Canada's most-circulated newspaper, the Toronto Star, published a cover that welcomed the 160 refugees who arrived on Thursday, another symbolic move that reveals key differences between the country and the U.S. in terms of attitude toward refugees.

"This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share," Trudeau said.

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Meanwhile, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has gone a step further than those merely against the refugee program. He's proposed a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. Officials in Texas, the state that has historically accepted the most refugees, is ramping up efforts to deny entry to Syrians fleeing war and persecution, Quartz reports.