Photo | Hana Nikčević
Refugees left in limbo by recent ban find hospitality in Canada
Since the inauguration of the newly elected President, Donald Trump, there has been a rapid succession of events, the ripples of which have been felt throughout much of North America. There are reports of a significant influx of American citizens looking to become Canadian residents, perhaps permanently.
This influx includes a large number of displaced peoples, stuck within the purgatorial period of adjusting to a new country, new customs, and a new way of life. Aside from those who voluntarily elected themselves to move to Canada permanently, there are many individuals who are incapable of travelling back to the U.S. This comes as a result of President Trump’s recent executive-order prohibiting entry into the United States by citizens of seven majority Muslim countries.
Groups of Canadians have offered up their own homes as temporary places for displaced peoples to reside in until they are permitted to return to America.
Victoria College student Hiatt Differ created a Facebook group with the help of some close friends, comprised of students, and Toronto residents. The group’s purpose is for coordinating housing and accommodation offers from across the city, for those who might need shelter as a result of being redirected to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The group’s size grew rapidly within it’s first few days, due to shares on Facebook and attention from news outlets such as the CBC.
Harrowing news of the recently implemented immigration ban sent many Canadians, especially those who share dual citizenship with countries listed on the travel ban, into a panicked frenzy—until the Prime Minister confirmed that Canadians would be exempt from this ban. In the moment, Canadians chose to make room in their own homes for those in more unfortunate circumstances.
At a news conference in Ottawa, Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said he “is not aware of anyone currently stranded at Canadian airports as a result of the ban, but that the government will offer temporary residency to anyone in Canada because of it.” Hussen’s statement is a mere part of the whole effort of several Canadians to stand in solidarity with those incapable of returning home.
The description of the aforementioned UofT students’ Facebook group encourages people to help. It states, “Donate to organizations fighting Trump’s travel ban and helping refugees, including the International Rescue Committee, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union.”