Canada has taken the lead in refugee settlement for the first time in 72 years, according to new data compiled by a researcher at the University of Calgary, raising questions about the country’s role in navigating a growing Muslim refugee crisis.
The Star (h/t MarvinW) Data compiled from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as other governments worldwide, shows that Canada resettled just under 30,000 refugees in 2018 — slightly exceeding the number of those resettled by countries in the European Union, and a few thousand more than those resettled by the United States, putting Canada in a historic lead.
Canada’s position at the lead of Muslim refugee resettlement in large part has to do with the drastic decline in the U.S.’s resettlement of refugees in the last year.
“They’ve gone from resettling 65 to 70 per cent of the world’s resettled refugees to only 24 per cent,” Falconer said of the U.S., comparing the dramatic shift in numbers from 2016 to 2018. He added while some countries in the European Union, including Germany and the United Kingdom, have encouraged the resettlement of refugees, others, like Denmark and Hungary, have chosen to reduce their numbers or eliminate resettlement programs entirely.
“The pie has shrunk,” Falconer said of refugee resettlement efforts. “Canada is taking more of the pie.”
Pew Research The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This represents the first time since the adoption of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act that the U.S. resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world.
The U.S. has historically led the world in refugee resettlement. Since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide. But in 2017, the U.S. resettled 33,000 refugees, the country’s lowest total since the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a steep drop from 2016, when it resettled about 97,000.
“They’re the ones who lead by example, and they’re the ones who encourage other countries to get on board with resettling refugees,” Falconer said of the U.S., adding the dramatic shift in their foreign policy will have global implications, including a likely decrease of resettled refugees by some countries, while others try to fill the gap.
Because of the declining intake by the U.S., Canada may now bear the burden of leading resettlement efforts worldwide, Falconer said. This could be a positive step for the country, however, he said, as it provides an opportunity to lead and encourage Canadian-style resettlement programs.
Are Muslim refugees a threat to Canada? With the recent arrest of a teenage Syrian Muslim refugee who was close to carrying out a terrorist bombing attack in Toronto, obviously, many of them are.
Ahmed Hussen, a Somali Muslim, is Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship and is proud that Canada played a leading role in the drafting of the United Nations Global Migration Compact which makes migration a “human right” and all but eliminates a nation’s borders and its ability to decide for itself which refugees and migrants it will accept.
Macleans With input from domestic NGOs, Canada was one of the first countries to offer concrete suggestions in the early days of the consultations around issues that the Compact should highlight and address, from the benefits of refugees’ economic inclusion, to the imperative of increasing political and financial support for frontline hosting countries.
But the politicization of the debate around some 10,000 asylum-seekers who crossed the border illegally in Quebec this year is a stark reminder that no society is immune to populist rhetoric.
The Compact urges the private sector to support the entrepreneurial skills of refugees (even though few have any) with micro-credit loans and mentorship, as looking at refugees as economic agents and contributing neighbors, and not passive recipients of aid (which most them will be for life as they are in Europe).
While 1.4 million (mostly Muslim) refugees have been recognized by the UN as in need of resettlement, countries have offered only some 70,000 spaces this year—a stark decrease compared to last year. However, Canada continues to be a leader in offering this solution: 10,000 refugees will be admitted in 2018 through Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and another 20,000 will be welcomed through Canadian private sponsors from coast to coast.