It has been mere days since Trump took the oath of office; just a few rotations of this celestial body as it orbits around our Sun and much has changed already.
Trump has carried out his promise to ban Muslims - albeit temporary, and from just 7 countries (coincidentally none of them have a Trump business presence).
A fish rots from the head down and I have little doubt the sentiments and (unfounded) suspicions against immigrants and refugees that Trump enunciates ad nauseum will permeate throughout US immigration decision makers and those that execute policy.I discussed the consequences for Canada of an anti immigration US president with Vice.
I know that we will see increased deportations from our giant neighbour to the South. Some of those facing removal or now living in fear and anxiety will look to Canada for relief, for succor. One consequence will almost certainly be an increase to refugee claims, or at least attempts to access protection here. One of the impediments to those fearing persecution and living in the US with its rapidly changing attitude towards refugees and asylum seekers is the Safe Third Country Agreement. This forecloses making a claim at a (land or border) port of entry for those already in the US subject to some exceptions. One exception is to make the claim in-land; the STCA will encourage individuals to make a potentially perilous and unauthorized entry. Some have tried already, including Ghanaians that risked a perilous, 7 hour hike across the US-Canada border. One will likely lose all of his fingers to frostbite.
Another consequence of Trump, particularly because of his success, are the noxious copy-cat politicians and alt-news and right wing media that have arisen here almost overnight, like mushrooms energized by fresh excrement. Think of the nasally, charisma challenged Kellie Leitch, who heretofore never expressed any concerns as to immigration policy (according to Jason Kenney himself) and her flawed polygraph test (widely understood as targeting brown people) and jowly, serial prevaricator, lawyer-that-turned-in-his-bar-card "Rebel Commander" Ezra Levant and his merry band of provocateurs.
On the other hand, here may be some advantages; Canada might benefit. If H1B knowledge workers are turned aside they and the companies that employ them might set up shop here.
Is there anything that our Prime Minister can do? I don't think so. Neither coercion nor persuasion. Tails rarely wag dogs, and what 35 million strong Canada thinks means little to the colossus next to us. That being said, perhaps one concrete (but unlikely) action might be for Canada to walk away from the Safe Third Country Agreement. Another may be to lift the 12 month ban on making humanitarian and compassionate applications after a failed refugee claim. A third might be to create a special, temporary class for the "Dreamers" individuals that came to the US as kids, are educated there, have no criminal records, have done nothing wrong.
Update: Since that post, there were a number of developments, sound and fury, and the dust has finally settled on the Friday announcement of a #muslimban Here are my thoughts, shared with Globalnews here in Calgary and in Edmonton: