Invite the forsaken U.S. Dreamers to come north and help make the Canadian Dream come true, in the same way we opened our doors to legions of young Vietnam War era draft evaders a generation ago.
As strange as it may seem, the United States government doesn’t seem to ‘get’ the concept of human capital. Indeed, it seems to be going out of its way to undermine the American Dream and hundreds of years of historical precedent by purging its immigrant talent pool in the name of legal correctness.
In a recent policy move, U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Well, that’s what he did initially. Not surprisingly, soon after he changed his mind and was telling a different story. But the underlying message for the nearly 800,000 so-called Dreamers is clear; despite being culturally American, you’ve been put on notice. Your parents came to the U.S. illegally and – through no fault of your own – you are not welcome in the United States any longer.
This and other shocking federal assaults on traditional American values are accelerating an unprecedented talent migration that has been described as the Great Canadian ‘Brain Grab’.
What is the Brain Grab; it is the phenomenon of increasing numbers of talented, educated and highly motivated Americans fleeing the increasingly intolerant U.S. and choosing Canada as a place to realize their dreams.
The effects of this talent migration are being felt everywhere. For instance, Facebook is opening an artificial intelligence research lab (only the second outside the United States) in Montreal, Google is doing the same, opening a branch of its DeepMind artificial intelligence research effort in Edmonton.
Why establish these elite research teams in Canada? Well that’s where the available talent from around the world – including many expat Americans – are most comfortable.
So, who are these Dreamers?
According to latest estimates there are approximately 1.8 million school age children or young adults who could qualify under DACA, an Obama-era “deferred action” initiative designed to protect unauthorized youth who were brought to the United States illegally.
By and large the Dreamers are multi-cultural, Latin American in ethnic origin and have been raised in the U.S. Culturally, they are American, with the vast majority English speaking and educated. They’re either attending school (if they’re young) or have a high school diploma. Needless to say, many are already more than that: they’re either very employable college graduates or U.S. military veterans with clear criminal records.
These Dreamers are high achieving youngsters, five per cent have started their own businesses, 16 per cent have already purchased homes. The human capital potential of the Dreamers is huge; life time contribution to U.S. GDP of the Dreamers has been estimated at over half a trillion dollars.
What’s not to like about these Dreamers?
It seems many American’s can’t see beyond their ethnic background, as if the Americanization of peoples in the time-honoured tradition is insufficient to warrant citizenship.
Canada, on the other hand, is a different story.
Canadians embrace newcomers and have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to cultural assimilation. Yes, Canada does have an immigrant problem that’s not dissimilar to the United States, but our willingness to allow immigrants the time and space to integrate naturally and value-harmonize with the rest of Canada eases the integration burden on both sides of the cultural equation.
If Canadians can open their doors willingly to Haitian refugees and others suffering discrimination around the world, we ought to be able to open our doors to any Dreamers who want to make the trek north to Canada.
And this time, let’s not force the newcomers to cross the border in the dark of night; trekking through the ice and snow. Let’s open our hearts as we open the border welcoming a new generation of young, idealistic ‘Americans’ who will integrate easily and contribute their talent, skills and humanity to our society, materially improving to our general wellbeing.
Welcoming the Dreamers is not only the right thing to do, it would send a message to the world that Canada is once again demonstrating its unique brand of humanitarianism and providing much needed moral leadership in a darkening world.
Robert McGarvey is chief strategist for Troy Media Digital Solutions Ltd., an economic historian and former managing director of Merlin Consulting, a London, U.K.-based consulting firm. Robert’s most recent book is Futuromics: A Guide to Thriving in Capitalism’s Third Wave.
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