All through the presidential campaign, people joked about moving to Canada if Donald Trump won. They even crashed the Canadian citizenship and immigration website. Then much to our horror, he won the arcane electoral college which allowed him to move into the White House despite not winning the popular vote. But true to their word, people are now moving to Canada instead of remaining in the U.S.—although it’s largely out of necessity instead of preference.
Canada has seen a recent influx of immigrants crossing over snowy remote areas near the U.S. border in order to seek asylum rather than stay in Trump’s America.
People who work with immigrants in Canada say these border-jumpers would rather be arrested in Canada than live in fear of how U.S. officials might handle their cases.
"There's quite an increase in people walking through illegally," says Cpl. Camille Habel, spokeswoman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Some of them have endured frostbite and have lost fingers. Still, they are afraid and desperate enough to make the trip.
Hussein Ahmed and Mohamed Hossain moved as quickly as they could through the waist-deep snow. They were fleeing the United States for Canada, terrified but determined to get to safety.
"Sometimes we were crawling," Ahmed, 34, says. "It was terrible. ... I thought I would never survive such a field of ice." [...]
The men began having sleepless nights because of US President Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric. Then he signed an executive order temporarily barring refugees, and all travelers from Somalia. That was the final sign. They hatched a plan to leave.
The asylum seekers first began arriving as individuals, then in small groups, and finally, as families with children as young as six months. They walk across the snowy tundra—right into town and directly into the arms of police officers who can only detain them for 24 hours before releasing them or presenting them to a judge.
"They'll be walking — you'll see whole families, like two adults and like three children most of the time," says Matthew Turner. "They'll be walking down the road with suitcases and backpacks."
Technically, the U.S. and Canada have had an agreement since 2002 (known as the Safe Third Country Agreement) which states that if a refugee wishes to file for asylum status, they must apply in whichever of the two nations they arrive in first. But Canadian immigration advocates are looking to work around that agreement since they aren’t fully sure that the U.S. is a welcoming
place for migrants after all.
“Our view is that the United States has never been a safe country for all refugees,” said Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.
Wow. Once upon a time people from all around the world risked life and limb to come here because they believed that this was the greatest country on Earth. And while we know that for the most part, a great many still believe this, it’s striking to hear that immigrants are literally risking life and limb to get away from us. Donald Trump has definitely cast an ugly, “yuge” dark stain on the nation he so desperately claims he wants to make great again.