"Refugees are not terrorists. They are often the first victims of terrorism."
- António Guterres,
Secretary-General of the United Nations
In This Issue
The AURA Newsletter
Fall 2017 

Welcome to AURA's 2017 Fall newsletter.  All of us at AURA thank you for your continued support of our mission to assist  in the sponsorship and resettlement of refugees from around the world.  I t is because of people like you that we are able to run life changing programs that allow for the sponsorship and resettlement of refugees.

Around AURA
Everyone at AURA has been busy getting back into the swing of things since we returned in September after the office was closed in August for budget reasons.  We would like to once again thank everyone for their patience and understanding. It was not an easy decision to make. 
2018 Planning at AURA:
After a sharp increase in sponsorships in 2016 and 2017, AURA's goal going forward is to encourage our refugee sponsors to develop ongoing refugee sponsorship programs.

We are also responding to the "Echo Effect" cases - which refers to the desire for newcomers to give family members who were left behind the chance to be sponsored to Canada.

AURA is working to incorporate the lessons learned to improve our ability to support groups going forward.  If you are interested in submitting another sponsorship case in 2018 or would like more information, please contact the AURA office before the end of November if you have not already done so.

Ride for Refuge Fundraiser:

Members of AURA Board of Directors Chair Kirk Merrett's team, AURA Allies. 

Many AURA supporters participated in the Ride for Refuge on Saturday, September 30.  T he event was a family-friendly cycling and walking  fundraiser that supports charities who provide refuge and hope for displaced, vulnerable and exploited people everywhere.

The Ride for Refuge helps some remarkable organizations raise much-needed money for their tireless and determined work with  displaced, vulnerable, and exploited people.  

It was fantastic having so many people willing to support the work that helps some of the world's most vulnerable people start a new life and strengthen our local communities. A big thank you to Nadia Heyd, AURA Board of Directors member, and Darrick Heyd (pictured bottom right), Robert Graham and Allison Murray on Team GRACE (pictured top left) along with all the bikers and workers for making such a successful event!.

Thanks to everyone involved, the 4 AURA teams raised almost $12,000! 
Click here to learn more about the Ride for Refuge
Constituent Group Corner
Refugee newcomers can become citizens sooner: 
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announces that the Liberal government's changes to citizenship laws would take effect on October 11, 2017. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press))

More flexible rules of language and residency requirements for citizenship took effect Oct 11. 

Although becoming a Canadian citizen is not part of a regular 12 month refugee sponsorship, citizenship should be a goal for all sponsored refugees. 

The new rules include:
  • The required duration of a physical presence in Canada is reduced to three out of five years, from four out of six years.
  • A portion of time spent in Canada before permanent resident status will count toward residency requirements, which will give credit to temporary workers and students.
  • The age range for language and knowledge requirements is reduced to 18 to 54 years old, from the previous requirement of 14 to 64.
Refugee News
Liberals prepare to reveal 2018 immigration plan they say will boost economy, help refugees: 
Canada's immigration system Critics say strategy must address global migration crisis and labour gaps across Canada. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

The Liberal government is finalizing its 2018 immigration plan, aiming to strike the right balance amid a global migration crisis, a surge in illegal border-crossers and persistent labour gaps across the country.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen  recently wrapped up cross-country consultations and is preparing to table the annual immigration levels in the House of Commons by the Nov. 1 deadline.

As he sets next year's target for the number of newcomers allowed into the country, the government's goal is to attract top talent in a competitive global market while reuniting families and offering refuge to people displaced by disaster and conflict.

"Canada's immigration system continues to be based on compassion, efficiency and economic opportunity for all, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians," reads a statement from Hussen to CBC News.

Syrian newcomer balances books and burgeoning family: 
Syrian refugee Maral Khokaz holds her 4-year-old son Sarkis and her nine-month-old son Andrew, who was born in Windsor. (Meg Roberts/CBC News)

Life in Canada hasn't been easy for Ayman Eid but the Syrian refugee who fled bullets and bombs is now balancing books and a burgeoning family.

Eid fled Syria for Lebanon in 2015 when terrorists invaded his city and a bomb destroyed the house he and his brother had spent their savings renovating.

"It was so sad," said Eid. "It was awful."

He made the decision to flee with his wife and infant son as he surveyed the rubble and arrived in Windsor about a year and a half ago via a private sponsorship backed by his cousin.

Eid has a degree in accounting in Syria but the paper carried little weight in his adopted country. He landed a job on the line at a metal factory in LaSalle and bicycled an hour to and from work each day. He didn't like it but he didn't give up.

"I decided not to go to welfare because I wanted to be an active member in society so I don't want just to stay at home and get money so that is why I prefer to work," he said.  "That gave me more motivation to work towards my career."

Sharing responsibilities for large refugee movements: 
Eulalia Elena Silvestre Hernandez, a Poptí Mayan indigenous woman, returned to Guatemala after years of exile.  © UNHCR/Lucrecia Maza

As UNHCR leads a process to develop a Global Compact on Refugees, an international meeting in Geneva explored what can be learnt from past and current examples of sharing responsibility for large movements of refugees.

Last year's New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016, called on the High Commissioner to develop a global compact on refugees, in consultation with States and other stakeholders. It is due to be presented to the UN General Assembly for consideration in 2018.

UNHCR hopes the thematic discussions will draw out a set of actions, good practices and lessons for States and others to inform the development of the programme of action, which the High Commissioner will propose as part of the Global Compact on Refugees, at the core of which is the comprehensive refugee response framework already agreed to by UN Member States in the New York Declaration. The programme of action will build on the commitments made in the New York Declaration and seek to make future comprehensive responses to large-scale refugee situations more predictable and equitable.

Social Media Highlights
Canada 150th:
Annual Report:
If you have not already taken a look AURA's most recent Annual Report is available online,  click here for a PDF copy.

If you need physical copies, please contact the AURA office as we still have some. 
Words of Wisdom:
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