Leave DACA out of Cana­dian pol­i­tics

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - COMMENT -

The news about changes to the “Dream­ers” pro­gram south of the bor­der is a distinctly Amer­i­can pub­lic pol­icy is­sue.

But that hasn’t stopped one politi­cian north of the bor­der from try­ing to give the story a need­less Cana­dian twist.

In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tor Ratna Omid­var ap­peared on a widely shared CBC News Net­work seg­ment Tues­day evening to rec­om­mend Canada wel­come 30,000 to 40,000 of the il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the U.S. cur­rently par­tic­i­pat­ing in the DACA pro­gram.

The Obama-era pro­gram stands for De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals, which al­lows U.S. res­i­dents brought il­le­gally into the coun­try as chil­dren by their par­ents to ap­ply for a re­new­able two-year re­prieve from de­por­ta­tion.

Nine states led by Texas threat­ened to go to court by Sept. 5 to force Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to end the “un­con­sti­tu­tional” Obama pro­gram, and were likely to win.

So Tues­day morn­ing, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced it would “wind down” DACA within six months, and asked Congress to pass im­mi­gra­tion re­form leg­is­la­tion to re­place it.

Omid­var sug­gested Canada should open its doors to some of the 800,000 “Dream­ers,” as they’re called, as if this was some­thing Canada was con­sid­er­ing.

“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,” Omid­var said. “They un­der­stand the North Amer­i­can work­ing cul­ture.”

It’s dif­fi­cult to un­der­state how reck­less it is for a fed­eral politi­cian in Canada to muse about an is­sue like this when Amer­i­can politi­cians are still grap­pling with how to deal with this group of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants.

Trump and other Repub­li­cans made it clear that they’d like to see Congress pass broader im­mi­gra­tion re­form that in­cludes as­sis­tance for Dream­ers. A num­ber of Demo­cratic state at­tor­ney gen­er­als plan le­gal ac­tion to pre­serve the pro­gram.

This is a com­plex is­sue. No Cana­dian politi­cian should be do­ing a re­peat of Trudeau’s #Wel­come To Canada shenani­gans in a sit­u­a­tion like this.

No doubt many Dream­ers would make fine Cana­dian cit­i­zens. All can ap­ply for res­i­dency here, like any other prospec­tive im­mi­grant.

But we al­ready have one bor­der fi­asco in Canada in part thanks to hasty and con­fused rhetoric by our prime min­is­ter. We cer­tainly don’t need an­other.

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