Just over a month ago we highlighted the comments of one recently deported Mexican nationalist who told Reuters that illegally immigrating to the U.S. was over, courtesy of the Trump administration, and that it was “Canada’s turn” to welcome the world’s immigrants with open arms.
“For those without documents, I think (the United States) is over. Now it’s Canada’s turn.”
And, with each passing month, new immigration stats from Canada seem to indicate that Reuters’ young border-hopper was a very prescient fellow indeed. According to stats highlighted by the Financial Times today, “land border asylum claims” in Canada continue to skyrocket with Quebec crossings up nearly 3x YoY and crossings into Ontario surging as well.
Meanwhile, the FT insists that the following propagandastory from a man named Abdi, a Somalian refugee who fled the U.S. out of fear of Trump, is typical of what’s driving the illegal and dangerous migrations north.
“Every time you see the TV, Trump is still talking about deportation, every time,” Abdi says, lounging on a steel-framed bed at a Salvation Army hostel in a gritty stretch of Winnipeg, the capital of Canada’s Manitoba province, where he has slept since sneaking across the border in March. “It scares me, it scares my friends, it scares everybody who is an immigrant living in the US.”
As they gaze out of the window on to central Canada’s prairies, he and two other Somali men recount their journey. Abdi says that if he returns to Somalia, the fragile east African state ravaged by decades of civil war, he would be killed, which is why he slogged through waist-deep snow and -30C temperatures to get to Canada.
“My country for me is fire . . . you see the fire, you run away. So I can’t return . . . but when you see [Trump] talking like that, you don’t feel free either,” he says.
Of course, one day after Trump signed his first immigration executive order back in January (see “Trump Signs Executive Orders To Keep “Radical Islamic Terrorists” From Entering US, Rebuild US Military“), Canada’s ‘progressive’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent the following tweet as an apparent jab at the new U.S. administration.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
And while ‘open borders’ sound super nice in a political speech, the practical reality is that the majority of Canadians, just like Americans, don’t approve of unfettered illegal border crossings that place a massive financial burden on taxpayers and are often accompanied by a surge in crime (see “Half Of Canadians Want Illegal Immigrants Deported“).
Within Canada’s political arena, the issue is becoming hugely divisive, with many of the same debates and sentiments that have been so prevalent in the US. For Mr Trudeau, openness to refugees is a core conviction — part of the progressive image that his father, Pierre Trudeau, who led Canada for 15 years, is credited with shaping. Roland Paris, a former adviser to the younger Mr Trudeau, whose cabinet includes turban-wearing Sikhs and Muslims, says he is “unlikely to back down on this”.
But Canadians are ambivalent about this type of irregular — some say illegal — migration. A recent poll by Reuters showed almost half of Canadians want these asylum seekers to be deported.
Some opposition Conservative politicians have promised to deploy the military to close the border. With Mr Trudeau’s approval ratings at a low of 48 per cent, they sense an opportunity. While Canada has not been shaken by populist tremors in the same way as France or the US, anti-immigrant sentiments are moving into mainstream politics.
Meanwhile, conservatives in Canada, taking a cue from the recent U.S. elections no doubt, have ratcheted up their nationalist rhetoric, with politicians threatening to enlist the army to fortify their border.
“There are significant portions of the population that have expressed discomfort with these arrivals,” admits Mr Paris. “The [Conservative candidates] see this as a potential issue to run with.”
In Emerson, opinion is divided. Some residents spoke of plans to assimilate the Somali families permanently in a town where there is little unemployment and farmers are often in need of help. “We have the space in Canada. It’s not like Europe where you have people on top of each other,” says Mr Janzen, the mayor.
But there is also tension in the town of 678 people. “Canada can’t take care of the whole world and it seems lately like that’s the way it is,” says Wayne Turton, who owns a car repair shop in Emerson. “It makes you a little cranky . . . it makes us a little mad.”
First it was just Trump supporters, but now it’s looking increasingly likely that France and Canada are also filled with a bunch of racist people intent upon protecting their ‘arbitrary’ borders.