If Americans could freely move to Canada in the way French people could move to Germany, the stories would be the long lines of people crossing into Canada. But unlike those imaginary border crossers, the flood of people leaving the United States for Canada are risking their health in crossing because they can't cross at regular border crossings.
In conventional times, the Safe Third Country Agreement would apply, where people claiming refugee status have to make that claim in the country where they first land. The rule, in place since late 2004, has given refugees in either country a shot at having that refugee claim status approved.
We don't live in conventional times thanks to Donald Trump and his policies. We are supposed to get tomorrow a revamped Trump travel ban, likely on the same 7 countries from the first travel ban. Somehow, certain refugees aren't feeling safe in the United States.
While there are several border crossing areas is that latest push, the two prominent locations are Hemmingford, QC and Emerson, MB.
It may be warmer than normal this winter in a lot of places, but these two points have plenty of cold and snow. We heard some stories of lost fingers and toes in trying to make the crossing.
Emerson has had trouble taking care of the extra influx of refugees.
So when these refugees get to Canada, they are arrested since, after all, they illegally crossed the border. But they know that they will get processed to determine their refugee status. The picture above illustrates how Canada has been handling this crisis.
We know there are stories of people risking their lives to come to the United States from the southern border though fewer of them than in recent years. After all, the numbers had been steadily declining while President Barack Obama was in office. Yet we hear lots of stories and focus paid on those crossings.
There are stories about high amounts of money being paid to get people close to the border.
The crossings from the United States into Canada should be a major story. We aren't talking about a story that has happening elsewhere in the world. This is happening in the United States, now.
We are starting to see some U.S. coverage citing this CNN report (with help from the CBC) but this needs to be a bigger story below the 49th parallel.
We laughed at the idea of a wall between Canada and the United States in part because they are so many decommissioned border crossings. People have crossed through these crossings in years past but the numbers have skyrocketed by comparison.
photo credit: The Associated Press/Google Earth