The situation of the roughly 800,000 so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, is very different from that of the Haitians and other asylum seekers who’ve been coming to Canada in large numbers via irregular border crossings, said Ottawa immigration lawyer Ronalee Carey.
For one thing, it’s still unclear whether the Dreamers will actually face deportation from the U.S. once the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program ends six months from now.
“If I was a DACA recipient, I would not be trying to come to Canada irregularly,” Carey said. “I think they should sit tight and wait and see what happens.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has given Congress six months to come up with a solution for the Dreamers, so-called because of the proposed DREAM Act, voted down in the Senate in 2010, which would have offered them legal status in exchange for joining the military or attending college. DACA is a stopgap measure, implemented by the Obama administration, that has shielded the Dreamers from deportation but has not given them a path to citizenship.
On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted that he will “revisit this issue” if Congress is unable to “legalize DACA” in the next six months. A majority of Americans believe Dreamers, many of whom have grown up speaking English and have attended American universities, should be allowed to stay in the U.S.
Carey said it would be a “huge mess” if the Trump administration actually tried to deport the 800,000 undocumented young people.
“That was a smart tweet on his part to sort of take back a little bit,” she said.