Relatively easy immigration to Canada?

I know several people whose parents applied to immigrate to the United States decades ago but found it much easier to immigrate to Canada, so they grew up as Canadians before coming to the United States for college and immigrating. Since the news is reporting many of the crash victims were students returning from holiday, if the Canadians are students, they might be the Canadian children of Iranian immigrants who got outta Dodge after the fall of the Shah and were going back to visit extended family over the holidays or something like that. That's the best guess I can come up with, given the sparse and not necessarily reliable information.

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