Canada should 'wait and see' before welcoming DREAMers, senator says
Senator Ratna Omidvar says space exists in current immigration numbers for undocumented immigrants
Three days after suggesting Canada give special consideration to 10,000 to 30,000 undocumented immigrants from the United States, Senator Ratna Omidvar says the government should "wait and see what happens in the United States first."
Omidvar urged patience when speaking to CBC News on Friday, saying immigrants "would like nothing better than to stay in the United States and I certainly hope that the United States can sort out its various issues to bring some closure to this."
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Earlier in the week, in an interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Omidvar said Canada could benefit from the Trump administration's decision to end a program that allowed young, undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States for years.
"These individuals are low-hanging fruit for us," Omidvar told host Rosemary Barton. "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. They understand the North American working culture."
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On Friday, when visiting the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont., Omidvar stressed youths wishing to immigrate to Canada from the United States should come through established immigration channels.
"I think certainly within our current immigration numbers we could find place for DREAMers," she said, referring to a proposed piece of American legislation that the undocumented immigrants are often named after — the DREAM Act. "I think we can show the world that in our small way, we can be accepting in a way that others can, too."
One problem Omidvar does foresee is too many DREAMers trying to immigrate to Canada at once, overwhelming the system.
She said a solution is to move away from annual forecasting — where the government decides every year how many immigrants will be allowed into the country — to a three year model.
While year-to-year planning "puts us in a bit of a straightjacket," Omidvar said planning for three years would allow "greater flexibility, greater nimbleness, greater responsiveness to individual challenges that may arise."
With files from Christina Lopes