Immigration control and border security continue to be tense issues for the Americans despite immigration being a core part of the nation’s identity. The current approach carries many problems. There is widespread exploitation of undocumented immigrants and many people lose their lives at the borders. As per Al-Jazeera reports, the number of unauthorized immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. today has reduced, and those who do “are pushed into an unforgiving zone called the Corridor of Death, where they risk everything to cross.”
On June 30, President Barack Obama took a vow to take executive action on a comprehensive immigration reform after Speaker John Boehner said that the House wouldn’t vote on legislation this year.
Canada offers a better treatment of immigrants and the U.S. might want to pick up a few tips from the Canadians. The two countries have a similar culture, based on their common colonial history and close diplomatic ties.
In the 1970s, Canada adopted open-immigration policies, relaxing restrictions and opening its borders. Accepting immigrants into Canada became part of the country’s nation-building, and it was believed that the influx of people improves, not divides, the nation. That’s what had made Toronto one of the most diverse cities in the world.
The Canadian government also admits that immigration has helped, not hindered, political engagement and social cohesion. The country has been sensitive to integrating immigrants since its inception in 1867, thanks to the many differences between the French in Quebec and the English in Ottawa.
According to Peter Dungan, an economist at University of Toronto, an increase of 100,000 immigrants would imply a 2.3% increase in real GDP in the next 10 years.
Most of what makes U.S. proud today was built by immigrants. More than 40% of Fortune 500 Companies were started by immigrants. They have contributed immensely to important sectors of the economy, from high-skilled math and sciences to agriculture, service industry and information technology.
Like Canada, the U.S. should embrace what immigrants have done for the country. It could open the door to a brighter future for the U.S.