We consider quantum systems with causal dynamics in discrete spacetimes, also known as quantum cellular automata (QCA). Due to time-discreteness this type of dynamics is not characterized by a Hamiltonian but by a one-time-step unitary. This can be written as the exponential of a Hamiltonian but in a highly non-unique way. We ask if any of the Hamiltonians generating a QCA unitary is local in some sense, and we obtain two very different answers. On one hand, we present an example of QCA for which all generating Hamiltonians are fully non-local, in the sense that interactions do not decay with the distance. On the other hand, we show that all one-dimensional quasi-free fermionic QCAs have quasi-local generating Hamiltonians, with interactions decaying exponentially in the massive case and algebraically in the critical case. We also prove that some integrable systems do not have local, quasi-local nor low-weight constants of motion; a result that challenges the standard classification of integrability.