Windsor prepares for Syrian refugees
Immigration services and agencies in Windsor are preparing for an influx of Syrian refugees.
There are already thousands of refugees from around the world living in Windsor.
Sudip Minhas, Interim Director at Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women, says that, on average, her agency alone serves 200 refugees each year.
There are six other agencies doing similar work in helping refugees and immigrants assimilate and adjust to life in Windsor. Minhas says that while refugees come from all over, but there are trends.
"We do see shifts every year and currently we're getting more refugees from Iraq and now there's going to be an expectation that there are going to be more from Syria soon," she said.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials said in March that Canada can't take Syrian refugees out of Turkey's 17 camps because the Turkish government isn't allowing any refugee to leave until the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has made decision regarding their case.
The New York Times reported this week that United Nations officials remain in the "early stages" of developing a refugee resettlement plan for Syrians displaced by the conflict there.
In December, the UN estimated the number of Syrian refugees would reach 1.1 million by the end of June.
Syrian refugee numbers could increase by two or three times by the end of 2013 if Syria's civil war continues, according to António Guterres, the UNHCR's high commissioner.
Minhas hopes that today, which is World Refugee Day, people will rethink Canada's policies and priorities.
Minhas says some of the biggest challenges for refugees are health care and education, especially for young children.
She says the system is too cluttered with red tape and expectations, like the 30-day window in which forms need to be completed, refugees can have difficulty meeting.
Minhas says when you flee a country, running for your life, you don't always have time to make sure you get all the right documents before you leave.