The first of Trudeau’s 25,000 refugees land in Toronto

The first planeload of 163 Syrian refugees fleeing the Syrian Civil War arrived in Canada on December 10th, as more planes will land in the coming days. Over 464 refugees have already come to Canada since November 4, but this is the largest group to arrive at once.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at Pearson International to welcome the refugees along with Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne.

“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,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau plans to resettle 10,000 refugees by the end of the year and 25,000 by the end of February. Trudeau campaigned on resettling 25,000 refugees by the end of the year, but critics addressed the unlikeliness of the goal, forcing Trudeau to change his promise. After the Paris attacks in November, Trudeau further changed his plan to not accept single males into Canada and to only accept women, children, and families.

“Now, we feel as if we got out of hell and we came to paradise,” said one of the refugees to Trudeau.

Trudeau’s decision to accept refugees has received heavy criticism from some Canadians. Aside from the and hominem attacks, opponents have blasted Trudeau for caring more about foreigners than Canadians, as the refugees are given homes, clothes, food, and healthcare before lifelong citizens. Some have also criticised Trudeau’s “selfies” with refugees as nothing but a photo-op for the Prime Minister.

Most of the 163 refugees will stay in Ontario with four coming to Kelowna, four to metro-Vancouver, and fifteen and twenty to Edmonton and Calgary respectively. Most refugees will be privately sponsored and about 10,000 will have to have sponsors if Trudeau wants to meet his 25,000 refugee goal. The remaining 15,000 refugees will be government assisted.

Canadian officials are interviewing 800 refugees daily to receive residence in Canada with most coming from camps in Jordan and Lebanon, as Turkey’s refugee processing has slowed since the Turkish election in November. 11,932 applications are currently being processed and 1,451 Syrians have been given visas to arrive in Canada.

Nearly 4 million refugees, or 90% of UN registered refugees, have taken refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan due to the Civil War.