By Constantine Passaris.
Two of the top immigration destinations in the world, Canada and the United States of America, are changing the face of their nations. The year 2014 will turn out to be a watershed year for immigration reform in both nations. The Harper government is determined to revamp and re-align the immigration system in Canada. In the USA, the Obama administration has signaled a renewed effort on immigration reform.
The Canadian government has set its sights on streamlining the immigration application and selection process, increasing fees, and reducing operational costs. On the other hand, the USA immigration landscape is a veritable political minefield as the Obama administration clashes with the Republican congress over who can get political credit for immigration reform. Between their differences, however, the two nations have a lot in common when it comes to immigration, and in the shifting global economy of the 21st century, perhaps they have a lot they could learn from each other.
The North American Scene
A comparison of the USA and Canada on the immigration panorama reveals distinct similarities and differences as well as unique challenges and opportunities. At the outset, it should be noted that both countries share a common demographic heritage. Apart from their native peoples, these two countries have been populated exclusively by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants.
Both countries also share the longest undefended border in the world. This has resulted in a strong record of bilateral co-operation with respect to immigration, refugees, and asylum issues. This is in sharp contrast to America’s southern border with Mexico, which has become very porous with respect to illegal immigration.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 precipitated enhanced security precautions and elevated the requirements for security screening in the USA and Canada. This has meant a more thorough and protracted security clearance process for prospective immigrants to both countries.
There is no denying that both countries face …
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