Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offers temporary residence permits for refugees rejected by Donald Trump. He said that he also intended to talk to Trump about the success of Canada’s refugee policy.
“Let me assure those who may be stranded in Canada that I will use my authority as minister to provide them with temporary residency if needed as we have done in the past,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said at a news conference.
Trudeau reacted to Trump’s visa ban for people from certain Muslim-majority countries by tweeting Saturday: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”
Hussain did not indicate how many people could be concerned by this measure, but he said that as of early Sunday afternoon, the Canadian authorities were unaware of anyone stranded in the country by the US order.
Trump on Friday suspended the arrival of all refugees to the US for at least 120 days and barred entry for 90 days to people from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
A spokesperson for Trudeau said he has a message for Trump. “The Prime Minister is looking forward to discussing the successes of Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with the President when they next speak,” spokeswoman Kate Purchase told The Associated Press. Trudeau is expected to visit White House soon.
Trudeau’s government has refrained from criticizing the United States, which takes 75% of Canadian exports, preferring instead to stress Canada is open to refugees. “Every country has the right to determine their policies,” said Hussen.
Hussen, who is a Somali origin, said the Trump administration had assured Ottawa that Canadians holding dual nationality with those countries would not be affected by the US ban. He said that people from those seven countries who have a valid Canadian permanent residency card can still enter the United States. However, under the US order, the ban will apply to people from the targeted countries who are passing through Canada.
Local and national politicians have condemned Trump’s ban and the opposition New Democrats want an emergency debate in the federal Parliament.
Brad Wall, the conservative premier of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, offered his support to Trudeau. “Sask has welcomed approx 2000 refugees this past year,” Wall posted on Twitter. “We stand ready to assist fed gov’t re: anyone stranded by the US ban.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory also weighed in, noting that the city is the most diverse in the world. “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,” Tory said in a statement.
More than 200 Canadian technology company founders, executives and investors said on Sunday that Ottawa should immediately give temporary residency to those displaced by Trump’s order. “(We) understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders,” they said in an open letter.
According to the latest Canadian census, from 2011, one out of five people in the country are foreign-born. According to government figure, Canada has welcomed more than 39000 refugees between November 2015 and the beginning of this January.