NEWS

Young Immigrants Losing U.S Protections May Look To Canada

800,000 DACA recipients could be "low-hanging fruit" for Canadian economy.

09/06/2017 18:04 EDT | Updated 09/07/2017 18:02 EDT
THE CANADIAN PRESS
A young girl waves a Canadian flag during Canada Day celebrations in Vancouver, B.C. Canada could be plan B destination for young immigrants in the U.S. who will lose protections when DACA ends in six months.

The White House's plan to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program could spur thousands of young undocumented immigrants to head to Canada.

On Tuesday, the futures of over 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children became a little uncertain after President Donald Trump's administration announced an end to DACA.

"To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a press conference announcing the decision.

Sessions called the decision a result of an "open border policy and the American people have rightly rejected." He continued, "The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year and that means all can not be accepted."

Immigration lawyer and policy analyst Richard Kurland told Global News that Canada should prepare for a ripple effect as a result of the U.S.'s crackdown on immigration.

"It's really odd. President Trump blamed Mexico for allowing illegal Mexicans entering the United States," he said, adding Canadian border guards would need a clear plan to handle any possible influx of asylum seekers.

Former president Barack Obama was highly critical of the White House's decision in a scathing post on Facebook.

The former president started DACA in 2012 as a way for young immigrants to receive reprieve from the threat of deportation with renewable work permits.

The U.S.'s loss could be Canada's gain

In an interview with the CBC's Power & Politics, Ontario Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar suggested the possible influx of young immigrants could be a blessing in disguise as they're already primed for North American culture already.

"These individuals are low-hanging fruit for us," Omidvar said. "They speak fluent English, they've been educated in the U.S., most of them have been to college or university, some of them have work experience."

She said Canada should give special consideration to 10,000 to 30,000 of them through the existing economic stream or as international students.

If Canada doesn't step up, other countries would be free to use this "opportunity" to poach these skilled immigrants, Omidvar said.

Those in the DACA program are generally not considered a drain on the U.S.'s resources as many of them work, are entrepreneurs, and serve in the military. Global news reports DACA recipients range from 16 to 35, with the majority being over 70 per cent Mexican.

Another immigration lawyer seems to agrees with Omidvar in focusing on the silver lining.

"Oddly, Canada stands to gain from what I'm starting to call the Trump dividend, in terms of the acquisition of human capital," Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Richard Kurland told CTV News.

He added that they already have work experience and pay state and local taxes in the States but still might apply for express entry under Canada's economic immigration program.

Trump effect on immigration already happening

Quebec is already experiencing an immigrant influx of their own with Haitians refugees arriving fearing Trump's anti-immigration stances. Between 6,000 to 7,000 people have crossed illegally across into Quebec from New York state since July, CBC News reported.

The Canadian Press Images
MNA for the riding of Bourassa Emmanuel Dubourg at a press conference in Montreal, Que., March 2, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mario Beauregard

That issue has escalated to the point where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg to Miami to speak with members of the Haitian diaspora to warn them against crossing into Canada illegally.

On Thursday, the government confirmed Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez is heading to Los Angeles on a mission to stem misinformation being spread about Canada's immigration, stateside.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In fact, the current prime minister is his son, Justin Trudeau. We have since returned from 1984.