On Tuesday, 41 Syrian refugees arrived in the Canadian city of Windsor. On Wednesday, the city expects to welcome 46 more Syrian refugees.
This is the beginning of a large spike in the number of refugees resettling in Windsor, which neighbors Detroit.
Canada has committed to resettling 35,000 Syrians between November 2015 and December 2016.
Jelena Payne, the Community Development and Health Commissioner of Windsor, says the city found out late on Monday night that refugees would be arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In a typical year, Windsor resettles between 200 and 300 refugees, but this year they expect far more. The city anticipates the bulk of them will arrive in January, February and March. However, Payne says they do not yet know the total number of refugees that will move to Windsor.
“Welcoming newcomers from other countries is not new to us,” says Payne. “But what is new to us, is welcoming this number of refugees in such a short time.”
Payne says much of the city’s population is excited to welcome the newcomers.
“But, as in every community, there are also individuals who are expressing concern - and rightly so,” says Payne. “Windsor does have a very high unemployment rate.”
The refugees will stay in motels as the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County figures out what services they need. The refugees will then move to permanent homes.