U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that President Donald Trump had decided to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, a proposal from the previous Obama administration that sought to protect children who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents. There is to be a “wind-down process” that seems to indicate that the effects of the decision will take some time to be enforced, thus giving those who fall under the DACA program time to adapt. Nevertheless, the President’s decision could jeopardize the livelihoods of some 800,000 students and professionals living in the United States, who have had no other home for most of their lives.

But some in Canada see this as an opportunity.

Could Canada help?

Ontario Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar has suggested that this move could be used to Canada’s advantage. In an interview with CBC’s Rosie Barton, Senator Omidvar suggested that the beneficiaries of DACA, also called “Dreamers” after the “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act”, are precisely the kind of economic migrants Canada should be targeting, as they are already immersed in the North American culture; they have worked and studied in the United States, and can speak perfect English. In addition, these Dreamers have gone through a criminality test as part of DACA. The Senator believes this to be a perfect opportunity for Canada to take in economic migrants who are well-suited to the Canadian culture.

Senator Omidvar’s suggestion is for the Canadian government to give “special consideration” to roughly 10,000-30,000 of these people either allowing them in as international students or through an existing economic migration stream. The senator worries that if Canada does not seize this opportunity, other countries are likely to do so first; Canada must step up quickly if it is to reap the benefits of the American decision.

A win-win

The purpose of DACA was to allow children brought illegally to the United States to maintain a residence in the country provided they receive an education and have no criminal past. It had not yet become law, as it had been struggling through Congress for over a decade. The 800,000 young people under DACA now face possible deportation to countries unknown to them, as the United States has been their home for the majority of their lives.

If Canada could help these Dreamers, it could be a win-win for The Dreamers, seeking a home, and Canada, seeking willing immigrants who can integrate into society and benefit the economy. Only time will tell what the government of Canada will decide.