Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was photographed on Thursday greeting 163 Syrian refugees who had recently touched down on a government-sponsored flight from Beirut, a painful reminder of how much easier it is to do good things in a country that hasn’t been hijacked by racist ideologues.

Trudeau, addressing staff and volunteers, gave a short speech underlining the necessary labor of accommodating refugees:

“...it’s not just about receiving them tonight. It’s about the hard work we’re all going to do in the coming weeks, months and indeed years to ensure that everyone who passes through here tonight and in the weeks and months to come are able to build a life for themselves, for their family and also contribute fully to the continued growth of this extraordinary country.”

Trudeau added in French, “Tonight they step off the plane as refugees. But they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada, with social insurance numbers, with health cards, and with an opportunity to become full Canadians.”

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Trudeau’s government will settle 10,000 refugees by the end of the month, and another 15,000 by February.

Back in the old U.S. of A., President Obama is under fire from Republicans and, most loudly, Donald Trump, for the White House’s plan to resettle a meager 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. More than 30 (mostly Republican) governors have said they will not take refugees in their states—despite the fact that states probably don’t have this authority, Indiana governor Mike Pence recently successfully diverted a family to Connecticut—and two bills meant to keep out refugees have been voted on in Congress.

Obama, in what is quite clearly meant as Trump Shade, wrote a warm welcome note on the Humans of New York Facebook page to a Syrian scientist who will be resettling with surviving family members in Michigan, saying “You’re part of what makes America great.”


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

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Image via Twitter.