Now that Donald Trump has become the official Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States, it is time to consider what impact his election might have on Immigration to Canada.
1) Clearly, Trump has committed himself to removing millions of illegal Mexicans from the United States. One would expect some percentage of these immigrants to attempt a move north either legally through various economic programs or illegally, as the pressure builds for their removal from the United States.
2) Trump has also targeted all Muslims and promotes a total ban on their travel to the United States. Putting aside questions of morality or the difficulty of implementing such a ban, it likely follows that Muslim tourists and immigrants alike would seek alternative destinations. Canada would be high on the list of alternatives due to its similarity to the United States as well as the more inviting environment for diverse immigrant groups.
3) While some may vote for Trump on the basis of his perceived business acumen, businessmen generally are very conservative and dislike uncertainty. On the basis of the Trump campaign thus far, it would be fair to say that consistency and predictability will not be Trump’s strengths. In my view, a Trump election could see the departure from the United States of some businesses which would seek out more predictable business environments. More specifically, companies in the United States which trade internationally, might be motivated to move, if Trump carries through on his pledge to scrap or re-negotiate international trade agreements like NAFTA and the TPP, which would harm such companies.
4) Given Trump’s anti-Immigration stand, it follows that potential investor Immigrants with businesses based on international trade, will pay heed to Trump’s statements and seek Canada out as a more stable and inviting country to immigrate to and conduct international business from.
5) While I do not anticipate there will be a sudden “run for the hills” mentality upon a Trump election, it is fair to say that some percentage, even if relatively small, could amount to a significant uptick in the number of Americans applying to immigrate to Canada. Such applications would generally be based on the simple desire to live in a more harmonious society, while at the same time, achievable without causing great upheaval due to Canada’s close proximity and similar culture.
While it is much too early to predict the chances of a Trump presidency, it does seem, with a much higher degree of certainty, that Trump’s election would have a positive impact on Canada’s immigration intake. That said, from a macro policy point of view, it is likely the gains achieved by Canada immigration would be far outweighed by the losses resulting from the massive disruption such a presidency would likely cause.
Shelley Levine can be reached at ShelleyLevine@levlaw.com or at Levine Associates (416)364-2345.