Trump’s Immigration Policy Will Benefit Canada

Immigration lawyers are abuzz with Trump’s recent announcements on immigration. Today, he is expected to sign an executive order that will temporarily ban most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries. His announcements regarding Mexico and his notorious wall have been alienating latin americans. This all good news for Canada. Lawyers from across the country have been getting more calls from immigrants who see a future of success, prosperity and, yes I will say it, freedom in Canada. To borrow the phrase, Canada has become the beacon on the hill for talented immigrants around the world.

Cooling Effect

At our last CBA conference in 2016, former Minister McCallum gave the keynote address in which he stated that he did not see a “refugee policy”; instead, he instructed his department to take a holistic view of immigration where all the categories are connected. He made the point that refugees are economic class immigrants and this is exactly right.

Trump’s xenophobic policies will have a cooling effect across US immigration. We are already seeing the effects north of the border. In my office, I have been getting an increase of cold-calls from Americans who are both directly and indirectly affected by his policies. Personally, I have been interviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press and the CBC about immigrants fleeing the US. My colleagues across the country have been getting similar calls.

My former coworker Evan Green divides the Americans seeking entry to Canada into 4 groups: “wayward Canadians”, those “appalled by Trump”, people with “grey status”, and rich people who may have Muslim background. In my experience, we get a lot of calls from the 2nd and 3rd groups. It seems very clear that many immigrants no longer see a successful future in the US under Trump.

Talent Begets Talent

In should be common knowledge by now but I will reiterate it again: refugees boost the economy. If you have any doubt, read this, or this, or this. Over the years, I have seen it first hand. The first example that comes to mind is that of a Guatemalan refugee who was tortured and escaped the country. We assisted with his refugee claim, he went to college and he got a job in IT. A year later, his brother, an accomplished surgeon who completed his medical training in the US, applied to come to Canada under the Skilled Worker category to be with his brother. I can say with confidence that those brothers (and their families) have made significant contributions to Canada.

Achieving the American Dream: In Canada

The HP news editer from Alberta recently posted an article on how it is now more likely for immigrants to “achieve the American dream” in Canada. This buttresses all the evidence above. The humanitarian reputation of Canada is helping with that effect.

Message to Trump: Bring it On!

Canada benefits from Trump’s rhetoric and proposed policies. Skilled immigrants from around the world are very smart when they are choosing their future. Many of them do not distinguish between Canada and the US. Xenophobic policies in the US may be the determining factor when talented immigrants decide on their future. In the end, Canada benefits.


  1. David Collier-Brown

    While I do expect some people to move, I expect that Canada will be more attractive to businesses, especially high-tech ones.

    The Internet Archive, an non-profit which operates a web-history programme called the “wayback machine” has already started a parallel copy of their business at UofT’s Robarts library.

    Network-related for-profit businesses which need stability in the laws under which they operate may well wish to have a place they can visit easily, and possibly have some non-American employees.

  2. David – Yes, I agree. Your comment flows from my point. Trump’s anti-immigrant policies will have a cooling effect across the board, including business applications.

  3. With respect to the ban on refugees, what effect will the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement have on refugees turned away from the U.S. who want to enter Canada? It seems the Agreement has been in place since 2004 and has not been repealed.