CALGARY: Support drying up for some Syrian migrants

Calgary advocates fear support drying up for some Syrian newcomers
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Dec. 28 Syrian refugees arrive Calgary

Siblings Maryam, Ines, Shirin and Malak hold up welcome signs for newly-arrived Syrian refugees at the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Ab., on Monday December 28, 2015. (Mike Drew/Calgary Sun)

Some Syrian newcomers to Calgary are struggling to get by after support from private sponsors has dried up, say local advocates.

Sam Nammoura has helped Syrian newcomers who’ve alleged abuse, manipulation and a complete lack of financial or emotional support from the relatives that sponsored their journey to Calgary and whom they now rely on for housing, food and assistance as they adjust to a new life in Canada.

“They’re isolated. They have zero help,” he said.

“They’re really suffering tremendously.”

Nammoura, who works closely with newcomers as co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group, said these refugees are terrified of speaking up about their struggles and in desperate need of jobs.

Syrian migrants with disabilities have trouble finding appropriate housing

Some Syrian refugees fed up after months in temporary housing

Settlement agency says it’s working ‘flat out’ to find housing, but refugees refusing offers

By Catherine Rolfsen, CBC News Posted: Apr 21, 2016 10:35 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 21, 2016 2:37 PM PT

Fayzeh Ramadan and her 15-year-old son Mohamed Alsedawe in the doorway of their East Vancouver motel. Mohamed hasn't been able to start school because the family doesn't have a permanent home.

Two of the Alsidawe daughters are disabled. A nerve problem called neurogenic atrophy means they have little to no movement in their lower bodies.

Fayzeh Ramadan and her 15-year-old son Mohamed Alsedawe in the doorway of their East Vancouver motel. Mohamed hasn’t been able to start school because the family doesn’t have a permanent home. (Catherine Rolfsen)

Some Syrian refugees living in limbo months after arriving in Canada say they feel frustrated, and ignored by settlement workers.

“When we came at first, we have a hope … but now we lost the hope,” said Hatem Alsidawe, through an interpreter.

Alsidawe, 19, has been living with his family — four siblings aged 15 to 26 and his mother, a widow — in a motel unit in East Vancouver since early February. 

Vancouver needs more permanent houses for Syrian migrants

Vancouver behind in housing Syrian refugees

SURREY, BC: March 9, 2016 -- Mohamad El Refaie, left holds his blind daughter Heba, 7 as his wife mother Shamia El Refaie, right holds their other daughter Lema, 4 a hotel in Surrey, B.C. Wednesday March 9, 2016. The family fled Syria as refugees. (photo by Ric Ernst / PNG) (Story by Tara Carman) TRAX #: 00042133A [PNG Merlin Archive]

The El Refaie family has moved from temporary housing in a Surrey hotel to a permanent home. RIC ERNST / VANCOUVER SUN

High housing prices have meant Syrian refugees in Metro Vancouver have had a harder time finding permanent housing than those who were settled elsewhere in Canada, with some waiting close to four months.

Nationally, more than 90 per cent of government-assisted Syrian refugees have found permanent housing, and in some cities, such as Ottawa, all have been housed.

In Metro Vancouver, there are 29 Syrian families still in temporary housing, said Chris Friesen, settlement services director with the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. Three of those families arrived in late December, and one has been shuffled between three temporary housing sites over that time period.

The Immigrant Services Society has found homes for 13 of the remaining families, including two of the three who have been here since December. They will be moving in the next 10 days, Friesen said, leaving 16 families still to house.

The cost of housing coupled with large family sizes — often in excess of six people — has made housing refugee families more of a challenge in Vancouver and Toronto than in other parts of the country, especially Alberta, where an economic downturn has depressed housing prices, Friesen said.

Victoria faces a similar challenge, with about 25 Syrian families in that city in need of permanent housing. Some of the refugees who initially arrived in Victoria have gone farther afield, to the Duncan area, in search of affordable housing.

In the past month, three of the Syrian families who came first to Vancouver were relocated to Vernon, Penticton and Summerland.

Canada’s immigration system vulnerable to fraud, says lawyer

Canada’s immigration system vulnerable to fraud, says lawyer

‘It’s not a perfect system by any stretch’

CBC News Posted: Apr 27, 2016 9:17 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 27, 2016 9:17 AM ET

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri says an alleged case of misinformation on a passport shows there are cracks in Canada's immigration system.

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri says an alleged case of misinformation on a passport shows there are cracks in Canada’s immigration system. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

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A Windsor, Ont. immigration lawyer says an alleged case of passport fraud in Windsor may be only one of many cases to slip through the cracks in Canada’s immigration system.

“We have a good system [but] it’s not a perfect system by any stretch,” Eddie Kadri told CBC Radio’s Windsor Morning. “Professionals like myself are advocating to change and close these cracks where people slip through, because it happens all the time.”

29-year-old Sudanese claims he didn’t know he was 29

‘Teen’ basketball player says he didn’t know he was 29

Jonathan Nicola told officials he wasn’t lying when he allegedly posed as a teenager to attend high school in Canada — he just didn’t know his real age.

Jonathan Nicola, 29, was detained by Canada Border Services Agency officials after allegedly posing as a 17-year-old high school student in Windsor. The 6-foot-9 Nicola is shown in action on the Catholic Central High School’s basketball team.

A 29-year-old South Sudanese man told officials he wasn’t lying when he allegedly posed as a teenager to attend high school in Canada — he just didn’t know his real age.

(…)

“I aways keep asking what is the specific age that I was born, and she has told me that she could not remember,” he told the April 19 hearing.

“Over (in South Sudan) . . . not every year we study . . . we always keep moving to different schools, and over there, they do not ask your age. They do not ask you nothing,” Nicola said.

(…)

“I am not a liar person. I am religious. I pray to God . . . If something bad happen to me here, I do not know what would happen to my mother back home because she is really sick. She has diabetes,” Nicola said.

According to a transcript of the April 19 hearing, Nicola arrived at Pearson International Airport last Nov. 23 on a student visa to attend Catholic Central Secondary School in Windsor on a full scholarship.

Legislated Injustice: Charter Rights And Canada’s “Identifiable” Communities

1988– Canadian Multiculturalism Act-   The Constitution Act, signed by Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982, above, gave Canada the sole power to amend its Constitution. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau looked on. (World Book 122f)

Legislated Injustice: Charter Rights And Canada’s “Identifiable” Communities

writer: Brad Salzberg, April 2016

http://capforcanada.com

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our nation’s defining civil rights legislation, was formally entrenched within the Canadian constitution in the year of 1982.

Created by former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the introduction of the Charter would establish individual rights and freedoms as the essence of what it means to be a Canadian. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, the Charter informed our citizenship that personal freedom and dignity are to be considered Canada’s most cherished values.

On a broader scale, these rights were intended to apply to all “identifiable” communities within our nation.  Yet, despite a thirty-five year government and media campaign to convince Canadians otherwise, true social equality based upon Charter rights is a fallacy.