Immigration

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Canadian Students Call for a Response to the Refugee Crisis

In response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, our current Canadian government has reluctantly offered some support. We shall, according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accept 10,000 refugees over the next three years. As medical students committed to global health, we call into question this lukewarm commitment to such a pressing crisis and call for stronger commitments in line with Canada's values.
Library and Archives Canada

Stephen Harper's Citizenship Overhaul Heir to Chilling History of Exclusion

The photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach awakened many voters to the human cost of our hardened, fear-based approach to immigration and foreign policy. But equally important and more difficult to acknowledge is the way the refugee crisis has cast an uncomfortable light on the question of who "we" are, and how our laws make us. To understand the anemic Canadian response to the refugee crisis, we must place it in the context of a broader policy overhaul that has radically reshaped the meaning of citizenship in Canada.
Joel Carillet via Getty Images

Canadian Lives Will Not Be at Risk by Welcoming Syrian Refugees

The Harper government's attempt to frighten voters should be recognized for what it is -- baseless propaganda designed to woo votes in the midst of an election. While there will undoubtedly be some undesirables in the refugee crowd, our immigration processes are perfectly capable of flagging and filtering out those risks. Canadian lives will not be threatened if we let in Syrian refugees. The irony, however, is that the lives of Canadians and our European friends may well be threatened if we do not. The tide of undocumented refugees will continue to flow into Europe if we fail to provide an alternative exit to those refugees still struggling to survive in camps in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

My Father Came to Canada as a Refugee and Created a Better Life

I am a first generation Canadian, the son of a refugee, taken in by Canada and given the chance at a better life. It is a testament to my father's success that I grew up in privilege and comfort. I don't know what it is like to have nothing. By any standard, I am blessed. There are no simple answers to the migrant crisis unfolding in many corners of the world. But at its root this is an economic problem. People living in poverty want a better life. They want my life, the life I enjoy because Canada let my father in as a refugee 60 years ago.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

7 Things to Know About the Children Affected By the Syrian Refugee Crisis

One of the remarkable characteristics of children is that they remind us of our shared humanity. Children also possess an innate power, through their very existence alone, to incite compassion in even the most hardened of hearts. Perhaps that was the purpose behind yesterdays publication of the photograph of a young Syrian boy named Aylan, whose lifeless body had washed ashore while on a treacherous voyage to Greece. Aylan's photo transcended the statistics we are often presented with. But it is far too easy to become lost in the daily reportage and statistics, and as such overlook the core issues facing the crisis.
JOSEPH EID via Getty Images

Let's Close the Gap Between Canadians and Refugees

Canada offered asylum to a mere 11,000 of the millions of displaced Syrians. Even then, an Ekos poll in March found that 46 per cent of Canadians still feel Canada is accepting too many immigrants and refugees. A poll last year found 42 per cent believe refugees should not be given the same level of health care as Canadian citizens. We don't understand this hardening attitude. Refugees like Nisreen's family aren't criminals or freeloaders. We are just like them. But for the grace of God we could be them.
Getty

Tracing a Million Immigration Stories at Pier 21 -- Including My Own

Yet, it's the luxury liner that brought them here, the beautiful Aquitania, that uniquely captures my attention. Like my family, the ship was tired, battle-weary, but she pushed ahead nonetheless, navigating her way through rough seas, a turbulent winter and plenty of unknowns to reach the final destination. As a proud Canadian and daughter, I'm terribly glad she did.
Shutterstock / Ferenz

What Immigrants Should Know Before Coming to Canada

Canada is a dream come true for those who immigrate here. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the envy of the world. Its multiculturalism welcomes new immigrants with open arms, open hearts and open minds. If new immigrants are to become a part of the Canadian multicultural fabric they must know what their obligations as Canadian resident/citizen would be.
refugee

My Refugee Journey Involves Gunshots, Homelessness and Hope

Over the following months in 2001, the violence continued in Burundi between the rebels and the government. My passion for my work diminished. I no longer felt like doing anything. I even stopped watching the news on TV, or even listening to it on my own radio station. Everything looked hopeless. In 2002, some Canadian journalists visited Burundi. If I were going to ask for help, it was now or never. Six months later, they invited me to visit Canada, and I jumped on the opportunity. I arrived in Canada with $60 in my pocket -- my mother's life savings.
Archives Canada

We all Need to Atone for Canada's Mistreatment of Aboriginals

You simply cannot live in Canada and ignore the past. It's a pretty strong statement but reading the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Aboriginal residential schools, that's the conclusion I've come to. The truth may be out but the reconciliation is going to take a while. So just as all Canadians share accountability for what is past, we also share a responsibility for making things better.
CP

Conservatives Have Damaged Our Immigration System

Throughout our history, Canada has welcomed newcomers with a smile. They were -- and are -- nation builders. Under the Conservatives, this smile has become a scowl and we have unfortunately witnessed a decade of decline in three major areas: family reunification, refugees, and citizenship applicants.
Passages Canada

How I Finally Embraced Being Korean

If someone said to me 15 years ago that I would be talking publicly about my Korean cultural identity today, I'd have been the first person to say: "You must be kidding." Until recently, despite having been born in Korea, I would not have called myself a Korean-Canadian.

I Risked Death to Seek a Better Life for My Kids in Canada

My children and I immigrated to Canada in 2010 as refugees. When we arrived, I was so happy that my kids were in a safe country. In Zimbabwe I remember not being able to cry or find comfort in anyone, because everyone was experiencing their own share of pain and shock. So in April of 2010, after being released from the most recent lock-up, I took my kids at midnight and headed for the border knowing that if I was caught I would be burned alive and killed. Even though I was living with the uncertainty of how my immigration hearing would pan out, watching my kids embrace Canadian culture strengthened me when I was at my weakest point.
Nisian Hughes via Getty Images

I Don't Want to Be the Only Minority at the Table. I Want to Add More Chairs

I remember so distinctly staring around at the room of Toronto Star editors and the people around me, including my own fellow interns, and I remember the exact moment of realizing that everyone in that room, except me, was white. I often believe its all too easy when you exist as a member of the "other," like a minority community like ours, for someone to cling to the idea of being the "first one," the "only one" and achieve what they can in the world for themselves and then go home with the pride of that recognition and nothing else. What if instead of believing there are limited seats to the table, we all chose to add more chairs?
Getty

A Long, Burdensome Road for Syrian Refugees and Their Canadian Sponsors

Militias set fire to homes with families still inside. From her safe refuge here in Canada, Dahlia heard the horrific reports and knew she had to get her family out of Syria. But to sponsor them as refugees in Canada would take an agonizing 18 months of bureaucracy and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Dahlia's ordeal raises the question, Are the demands of sponsorship too great for Canadians to bear?