Last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Canada welcomed “those fleeing persecution, terror & war.” It was widely seen as a repudiation of President Trump’s travel ban targeting mostly Muslim countries.
This week, Trudeau shared an equally uplifting communique on immigration: a video of two children experiencing snow for the first time.
The children arrived in Canada last week from a refugee camp in Sudan. They lived in the camp for five years after fleeing the violence of their home country. The video was filmed Saturday, according to Rebecca Davies, a spokeswoman for the Ripple Refugee Project.
The family of five — including four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 13 months — is living with Davies.
On Saturday, she said, “I looked up, and there were big, fat snowflakes,” Davies told reporters Monday. “We had talked the day before about weather in Canada. So I called them, and they all ran to the window.” Upon seeing the snow, the children grabbed their snow gear and ran outside.
Canada accepted a record number of asylum seekers in 2017. That was thanks in large part to a spike in Haitian applicants coming from the United States. Canada received just about 50,000 applications in 2017, nearly double the number in 2016, according to Pew.
“A change in U.S. immigration policy probably contributed to the surge in Haitians migrating to Canada. ... President Trump’s administration announced in 2017 that the temporary protected status (TPS) of about 46,000 Haitians living in the United States would expire in July 2019 and not be renewed,” Pew wrote in a report on the subject. “Immigrants who lose TPS and don’t gain legal protections through another program could be deported.”
The country also expanded its immigration program more broadly.
Canada will welcome 1 million new immigrants between 2018 and 2020, according to government estimates. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen called it “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent Canadian history.” At a news conference, he called it a “historic multiyear immigration-levels plan [that] will benefit all Canadians because immigrants will contribute their talents to support our economic growth and innovation, helping to keep our country at the forefront of the global economy.”