Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has taken a stand on social media against the temporary US ban on refugees and immigration from designated countries.
In a series of tweets, Justin Trudeau underscored his government’s commitment to bringing in “those fleeing persecution, terror & war”.
Within hours, his tweets had been shared more than 150,000 times.
“Welcome to Canada” also became a trending term in the country.
The prime minister, who gained global attention for granting entry of nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada over the past 13 months, also sent a pointed tweet that showed him greeting a young refugee at a Canadian airport in 2015.
On January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending entry to the United States from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen for 90 days.
Photo The Canadian Press
The US’s entire refugee admissions program has also been suspended for 120 days.
Those fleeing Syria as refugees are banned until further notice.
The executive orders created confusion in airports around the world as immigration and customs officials struggled to interpret the new rules.
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.
According to State Department, all travelers – including those with dual nationality – from one of the seven designated countries will be barred from entering the US.
That includes people with valid immigrant or non-immigrant visas.
Justin Trudeau has refrained from criticizing Donald Trump, despite the fact the two leaders have very divergent political views.
In recent media appearances, Justin Trudeau 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 plans to allow 300,000 immigrants into the country in 2017, mostly through economic immigration, though that figure includes 40,000 refugees.
Two Iraqi refugees in transit have been detained at John F. Kennedy airport following President Donald Trump’s immigration order.
Meanwhile, rights groups have filed a lawsuit in a New York court to demand their release.
According to the executive order signed on January 27, entry to the US for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries has been stopped for 90 days. People fleeing Syria are banned until further notice.
The other countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Image source Flickr
The two refugees detained in New York were in transit when the executive order was signed.
One of them, Haneed Khalid Darweesh, who had worked as a US Army interpreter, was released on January 28.
The other man, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, remains in detention.
New York Representative Jerry Nadler tweeted that he and fellow Democratic Representative Nydia Velazquez were working to help 11 more refugees still being held.
Several rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are involved in the lawsuit, filed on January 28.
Other Iraqi passengers and a Yemeni national were prevented from boarding a flight at Cairo airport bound for New York, despite holding valid visas for the US.
According to the White House, President Barack Obama has called for the US to prepare to accept “at least” 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.
That number is significantly higher than the 1,500 Syrians that have been permitted to re-settle in the US since the start of the conflict.
The 10,000 figure is still much lower than the 340,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Europe this year.
Since the beginning of the conflict the US has given $4 billion in aid.
The increase in accepting refugees displays a “significant scaling up” of US commitment to accept people from conflict zones and help provide for their needs,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Photo Getty Images
Congress would have to make a “significant financial commitment” in order to allow for additional 10,000 refugees to the US, Josh Earnest said.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered four million Syrians as refugees, and it has asked governments around the world to resettle 130,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.
In May, 14 Senators penned a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to allow 65,000 Syrian refugees to settle inside the US.
Humanitarian aid money remains the most effective way to fight the problem for the US, Josh Earnest said, and it is “not feasible” for millions of Syrians to come to the country.
Asked at a press briefing why the US was not accepting as many refugees as the UK, as a larger country, Josh Earnest said the US wants to meet the “most urgent, immediate needs” of migrants like basic medical care, food, water and shelter.
The security screening migrants must go through when arriving in the US can take 12 to 18 months, and the “safety and security of the US homeland” comes first, he said.
There have been concerns expressed that terrorists could exploit the refugee system to enter the country and carry out an attack, but experts say that fear is overblown.