Canadian Immigration and the U.S.

Canadian Immigration and the U.S.

Yesterday, Trump signed two Executive Orders, both regarding immigration in the United States; immediate planning of the construction of a wall along the southern border, and debilitating Sanctuary Cities. More Executive Orders from Trump are possible, including a possible end to the DACA program and a ban on immigration from specific Muslim countries, although nothing has been confirmed yet. In response to the threats and fear of such major changes to U.S. immigration policy, NPR covered a story regarding Canadian immigration policy.

The president’s nativist rhetoric presents immigration as a risk to American welfare, and a burden on the “American” people. Canada’s immigration policies, however, reflect a welcoming nation that encourages the economic benefits that immigrants bring; one fifth of Canada’s population is foreign. Margaret Eaton, the executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, points out that this welcoming attitude is not just because Canadians are nice – the country only consists of 36 million people, compared to the U.S. with more than 325 million.

The biggest contrast between the U.S. and Canada is that we have reformed our immigration system continuously, intensively, for a decade at a time when the U.S. has been facing gridlock. The consensus in Canada that immigration is part of our economic future and that part of our identity has never been stronger.

Chris Alexander, Canadian minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, 2013-2015

Due to this demand for highly skilled workers, Canada’s immigration policy is based on a point system, assigning points based on merits such as education, language proficiency and job skills. The U.S. on the other hand has an immigration policy that focuses more on family reunification – bringing spouses and immediate relatives from abroad. There are employment-based options for U.S. immigration as well, but these are limited with long wait times. Even though the U.S. admits more legal immigrants than any other country (for now), there are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows, and immigration programs haven’t been updated in 27 years, resulting in heavy backlogs and excessive wait times for a green card.

To read the full story by NPR, follow the link below.

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