In most of the English-speaking world, the idea of taking in Syrian refugees is political poison. Fear of refugees fed into the anti-immigration climate that drove Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
Australia’s treatment of refugees is infamously harsh. In the United States, Donald Trump has proposed a ban on Muslims entering the country at all.
The exception is Canada, which had the opposite reaction to the refugee crisis — outrage not that Syrians might not enter the country but that they weren’t arriving fast enough. As the New York Times’s Jodi Kantor and Catrin Einhorn wrote:
The Toronto Star greeted the first planeload by splashing "Welcome to Canada" in English and Arabic across its front page. Eager sponsors toured local Middle Eastern supermarkets to learn what to buy and cook and used a toll-free hotline for instant Arabic translation. Impatient would-be sponsors — "an angry mob of do-gooders," The Star called them — have been seeking more families. The new government committed to taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees and then raised the total by tens of thousands.
Kantor and Einhorn raise plenty of caveats about what could go wrong, from Syrian refugees who turn out to be terrorists (although the screening process is thorough) to cultural clashes between refugees and their sponsors. But their deeply reported article, which follows three Syrian families and the Canadians who sponsor them, mostly found Canadians who are enthusiastic about helping immigrants settle into their new life and Syrians who are happy for the welcome.
If there’s tension, it springs from the sponsors being too eager to help — one Canadian woman helped the refugee she was sponsoring create a résumé and practice for a successful job interview at a Middle Eastern grocery store, the type of work he’d done before arriving in Canada.
But the man eventually turned down the job, deciding he’d rather learn more English first and do different, more skilled labor in his new country. (Everyone involved was slightly annoyed, but mostly embarrassed and apologetic, a very Canadian reaction that suggests the refugees are integrating just fine.)
Read more: How Canada is putting the world to shame on Syrian refugees, in one paragraph - Vox