Syrian Refugee Resettlement in the United States and Canada

Student Author(s)

Katelyn Kolker

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Polet , Political Science

Document Type


Event Date



The purpose of this paper is to examine the different factors that have led to Canada accepting more Syrian refugees than the United States. The conflict that began in Syria in 2011 has increasingly drawn international attention due to the escalating violence within the country. The conflict in Syria started as a branch of the Arab Spring uprising and escalated into an armed conflict after the government violently repressed protests for democracy. This armed conflict has caused a humanitarian crisis because Syrians have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution. The crisis in Syria has had an impact on the global scale because of security and humanitarian threats to the international arena. Specifically, Canada and the United States have been affected and in result have had to create policy to address the needs of the refugees fleeing from Syria. Both of the countries are similar in many ways but have different histories of immigration that have impacted their approach to the current problem with Syrian refugees. Prime minister Justin Trudeau of Canada originally promised to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 1st, 2016. However, Canada did not achieve this goal and the deadline was moved back to March 1st, 2016. Overall, from November 4th, 2015 to January 29th, 2017 there have been 40,081 Syrian refugees admitted into Canada. On the other hand, President Obama and the United States government set a goal to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees for fiscal year 2016. From October 1st, 2010 to August 31st, 2016 the United States accepted a total of 12,623 Syrian refugees. This data shows that there is a higher percentage of Syrian refugees living in Canada than in the United States. Therefore, this comparative study aims to explain the key factors that have caused Canada to approach the Syrian refugee crisis in a more hospitable way than the United States. It will take into account the impact of the public opinion and the history of immigration and security on the admittance of Syrian refugees. Ultimately, this will provide an explanation of the facilitators and barriers for countries to intervene and to what extent when there is a humanitarian threat.

This document is currently not available here.