Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roosting Chickens and Inconvenient Politics

"There are approximately 93,000 Canadians who violate immigration laws simply by coming here with permission to stay temporarily, and never leaving."
"The next logical step would seem to be, if there isn't to be a discriminatory bent to immigration enforcement, we ought to be expending resources targeting Canadians."
Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez, professor of law, University of Denver

"I think it's going to affect every nationality, regardless of where you're from."
"If you're here without authorization, you're more likely to be caught and prosecuted, unlike the last several decades in the United States."
Rosanna Berardi, immigration attorney, Buffalo, New York

"I certainly do have calls from people who say 'I've been out of status for years. I came in as a visitor or I finished school or I came in with a work visa and I just never left. And now what can I do?"
"A lot of it comes down to ignorance, naivete or love."
Cedric Shen, immigration lawyer, Los Angeles, California

"I've never met an illegal Canadian."
"People come in from poor countries to work here. They come to Myrtle Beach, Canadians do. They enjoy themselves, they go swimming in March, and they go home."
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, Washington
Canadians wind up living illegally in the U.S. because they’ve gotten romantically entwined with Americans, they’ve sunk other sorts of roots or have decided to remain — underground — when their work or student visas expire, lawyers say.
Canadians wind up living illegally in the U.S. because they’ve gotten romantically entwined with Americans, they’ve sunk other sorts of roots or have decided to remain — underground — when their work or student visas expire, lawyers say. Getty Images

Well, of course there are those hordes of Canadian seniors whom the tourism industry calls "Snowbirds", eager to escape the cruel cold of Canadian winters and who head straight to Florida for months at a time until they feel they can return to Canada once the back of winter has been broken. When it comes to tourism and holidaying, more Canadians likely travel to various points in the United States than for any other nation, and that's understandable, since we're both in North America and approach is made easy by contiguous borders.

Life in the United States, and the opportunities visualized for the enterprising has never failed to fascinate Canadians who think that once established there, opportunities will open for them, too. The North American Free Trade Agreement had provisions to make it simpler for people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to move back and forth in employment. Now, it seems there is quite a sizeable contingent of Canadians who have ensconced themselves on a more casual trajectory, initially through legal means and when those lapsed, illegally, to remain behind.

Some of the Canadians who originally travelled on student or work visas simply decided for one reason or another, to stay right where they were. Perhaps they could have applied to extend their visas, perhaps they could have made application to emigrate, but never did, just settling down quietly where they were. Where, it could be they had married, established a family, were involved in a thriving business employing others to work for them. And made no effort to have their presence in the country legalized.

Figures appear to stand at around 100,000 Canadians living illegally in the United States. Many have just kind of slipped into overstaying their legal right to live in the States, and some just travelled there casually and never left. Often the difference between Canadians and Mexicans doing that kind of thing is that Canada is considered a wealthy country with ample opportunities available for its citizens internally, and Mexico is a country beset with poverty, crime and unrest.

Canadians are in a special category; they represent a large element who had entered legally yet remained illegally.

Now they have cause for concern, given the initiatives of the new Trump administration. Which has stated baldly, that, like any other nation jealous of its borders, its security and its right to determine who it will deign to allow entry, it isn't fond of the reality that there are millions of illegal aliens living in the country. That many of those illegals also take up productive but ill-paid and often difficult work that Americans reject, is another story altogether. Canadians would not normally be in that category.

Violation of American law is the crux of the matter. It's entirely possible that Canadians won't be targeted as Mexicans and those from other countries will be, particularly those of the Middle East and/or North Africa will be. But they will be. Consultation at this stage with the experts in law relating to immigration and illegal residency begs the question. What kept them from legalizing their stature in the United States as Canadians in the years they've been living there illegally?

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