Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 8, 2017
Trump’s plan to end DACA could lead to influx of ‘Dreamers’ in Canada
President Donald Trump’s threat to end protections for those who entered the U.S. illegally as children could spark a new wave of immigration and asylum requests, some analysts warn.
If that happens, they say, Canada’s already stressed systems would come under further pressure and potentially intensify a backlash against newcomers.
About 1.7 million illegal migrants to the United States – the vast majority of them Mexicans – are either registered or qualify for registration under a five-year-old policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. The program, which Trump wants ended, allows them to obtain work permits and protects them from deportation.
If even a fraction of those look north, it would still be a significant number of so-called Dreamers who might try to make Canada home.
Guidy Mamann, an immigration lawyer and policy analyst in Toronto, says he has already started getting calls and emails asking if Canada is an option.
“Now that there is a real question as to whether or not there is a permanent solution for these DACA kids, many of them are going to start to look towards Canada for both legal and possibly illegal entry,” Mamann said. “I suspect that we’re going to start seeing a real flow at this point because there is so much uncertainty.”
Younger Mexicans in the U.S. – those without completed higher education or solid work experience – are unlikely to qualify under Canada’s normal immigrant requirements. As a result, some might opt to claim refugee status, a process likely to take several years to play out, even for those whose claims are rejected.
Martha Batiz, an award-winning Mexican-Canadian writer and academic, said Canada would do well to put a system in place to welcome Dreamers, many of whom have grown up in the U.S. and are therefore culturally adapted and speak English as well as Spanish.
Otherwise, she said, they might feel desperate enough to create the kind of risky and uncontrolled influx recently seen with Haitian and African migrants.
“Canada has to step up,” Batiz said. “It would be better to have some system in place, even if it’s an imperfect system, so that (Dreamers) can apply legally, and Canada can decide who they are going to welcome.” (Source: Globe & Mail)