Don’t forget about Canadian ‘Dreamers’

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Although the proposal by Canadians to help American ‘Dreamers’ is made with good intentions, we need to give our own Dreamers a chance as well.

In a Huffington Post article titled “Canada has done less for its dreamers than the U.S.,” writer Vince Wong argues that without a corresponding program in Canada, we can’t effectively criticize the United States’ current situation threatening Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The article draws attention to a trend in Canada of looking down on the United States in terms of immigration and ignoring our own issues.

DACA supports so called ‘Dreamers’ by deferring the threat of deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents. Wong points out that this category of immigrants also exists in Canada, where the immigration process is just as lengthy and difficult.

Currently there’s a push by Canadians to support those who will be affected by the ending of DACA in the US by bringing them to Canada. As Wong points out though, there’s also a lot of work to be done to support Canadian dreamers that’s currently being overlooked.

There’s value in watching what other countries are doing well and badly in hopes of learning something to better our own. The problem for Canadians lies in buying into the ‘nice Canadian’ stereotype often associated with our country.

National pride can end up being a distraction when it comes to comparing the US and Canada. We’re no doubt different from our Southern neighbors, but we’re also extremely similar in many ways. Being reluctant to admit to Canada having some of the same problems, such as racism and xenophobia, holds us back from solving them anywhere at all.

Canada is the country that Canadians can affect directly. It’s worthwhile to think about supporting displaced peoples from the US and abroad, but we can’t claim any moral high ground without looking inward and criticizing our own immigration policies at the same time.

Supporting one group doesn’t mean un-supporting another group, it’s possible for Canadians to care about their own people and those from America at the same time. But we can’t let America’s problematic approach to immigration policies eclipse our own when we decide to take action.

 

— Journal Editorial Board

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