For political reasons the couple is heading to Canada, and not for the first time. They abandoned their lives in the US for a new start in Nelson, British Columbia, in 2003, appalled by George W Bush’s order to invade Iraq. The possibility of moving to Canada is thrown around frequently as a joke in an American exit plan.
Statements leading up to Trump’s presidency became fodder for late-night TV hosts. Spotify created a playlist entitled “Moving up to Canada,” featuring Mumford, Justin Bieber & Sons, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Maple Match has appeared in the online dating world, putting together Americans and Canadians. Its motto is: “Great dating again.”
Applications from Americans to acquire Canadian citizenship have more than tripled in the last 20 years, according to Canadian Immigration and Citizenship records. But no-one can certainly say why, because immigration and emigration motives are not monitored by the Canadian and US governments.
Michael Niren, an immigration lawyer based in Toronto, does not attribute that trend to political action. But in certain politically important years, a graph of citizenship demand numbers will display substantial spikes: in 2001, when Bush was elected president; in 2003, when the US invaded Iraq; and in 2007, during a crash and recession in the US housing market.
In Canada, minority groups concerned about their safety seek refugee status. Canada is not new as a symbol of social and political freedom and has a history dating back to the country ‘s founding.
Moving up to Canada
Canada has become a refuge place in more recent history for Vietnam draft evaders, Iraq war resisters, and those with left-leaning ideologies on gay rights, education, gun control, and health care. Nykanen and Taylor had flirted with the possibility of moving to Canada since dating back nearly 30 years.
“We weren’t being whiners. We had been working for this country, “said Nykanen, who left politics to write for non-fiction.”So we thought this was not about us anymore. It was about where we could give our daughter a home that was safe.
When the family arrived at the northeast corner of Washington State’s Metaline Falls-Nelway Border Crossing, it was dark.
The family had arrived without residency status against their lawyer’s advice. Yet they were given a one year visa after submitting documents and bank statements.
Nykanen saw a Canadian flag just a few kilometers from the border, lit in the night. He gazed at Taylor and sighed relieved.
Gaining permanent access to Canada, for most, is not a quick drive to the border.
Getting permanent residency is a six-month to the two-year procedure that costs $4,000 to $5,000 in legal fees on average, says Veronique Malka, an immigration lawyer based in New Jersey. Applicants are measured on a 100-point scale focused on language skills, schooling, work experience, age, and employability in English and French. For permanent residence, the temporary residence is typically required.
And to get it seems relatively easy, provided applicants show that they have worked and paid taxes. Canadian Immigration and Citizenship data show an approval rate of 91 percent in 2016 for temporary residents, work, and study visas. And for 20 years, it has swung around the 90th percentile. Maybe the best-known Americans who migrated to Canada were draft resisters of the Vietnam era.
US involvement in Vietnam has brought tensions to an all-time high, particularly as the number of casualties increased. As many as 40,000 men were drafted each month at the height of the Vietnam War. Some avoided that by enrolling in college, marrying, or proving to have a medical condition, or sometimes faking it. For some, Canada was a last-ditch effort, and for others, it was a form of protest.
McQuail had written a letter to the Attorney General in 1970. He would not be registering for the draft although the law required 18-year-olds to sign up.
In January 1971, McQuail landed in London, Ontario, where he was given temporary citizenship by a friendly border agent on condition he was having a job. He ended up at a dairy farm in Goderich, west of Toronto two and a half hours away. About half of those who have fled remain in Canada, even after being pardoned by Jimmy Carter for draft dodgers in 1977.
One of them was his wife Fran, who is 64. They two were sweethearts from high school and Fran moved to Canada in 1974.
My adrenaline levels go down, “Tony said. “I consider my home in Canada. And I’m not returning to the States.’ An estimated 200 Iraq resisters fled to Canada prior to their first or return deployments, and it is believed that there are still 15 people living today. None of them were given refugee status.
Some have been deported. Others returned to the US willingly and served jail time. Brandon Hughey was eighteen when, the night before he was to deploy for Iraq in February 2004, he fled his military base in Fort Hood, Texas. He had nothing more than a duffle bag and $1,000, much of which will go on a four-day drive towards petrol and hotels.
He was companionless until he left his car in Indianapolis, and got into a friend’s. They were nervous when they attained the Niagara Falls crossing in Buffalo, New York. The military had unquestionably released a warrant for his arrest. They told border patrol that they visited to watch a basketball match. It did work. Once He crossed the border, Hughey called his father.
Hughey was conservative from middle-class San Angelo, Texas. He found Jeffry House, a lawyer in Canada, who helped him become Iraq’s second war resister to apply for refugee status. Hughey was rejected after three years, and multiple trials.
He now works for permanent status. Hughey ‘s likely never going back to America. House, who represented almost 60 deserters from Iraq, said his cases were focused on the premise that the US had no right to attack Iraq. The court found the matter irrelevant.
Migration to Canada
Migration to Canada by some people isn’t motivated by either war or presidential politics. They ‘re drawn by their national healthcare system or stringent gun laws, or the idea that Canada can be a better place to live an alternative lifestyle.
Amy Bohigian, a Cambridge, Massachusetts 43-year-old moviemaker, moved to Toronto for a relationship. When that romance came to an end, she met a Canadian citizen of 50 years, Jane Byers. They married in 2005. This year; Canada legalized same-sex marriage.
Their marriage in the US wouldn’t have been recognized, which would have made it harder for Byers to get a green card. And their family was not exactly ordinary: two moms, raising two adopted children from India.
Bohigian and Byers live in Nelson, British Columbia. Nelson is halfway between Vancouver and Calgary, with a population of 10,500.
Due to the presence of Quakers, who fed and shielded runaways, Vietnam resisters were first attracted to the West Kootenays. Of the Americans who stayed behind the Vietnam draft, 40 percent settled in British Columbia, Welcome to Resisterville author Kathleen Rodgers said: American Dissidents in British Columbia.
One could call Nelson Canada’s Portland, but condensed into less than three sq miles. This time Nykanen and Taylor are not back to Nelson. They have selected Victoria and are hoping to settle by this summer. The move will be easy, with their kid in college and dual citizenship in their pockets.
“Canada is hardly a utopia. But the weather for the coming century is far better off than the United States, “Nykanen said. He doesn’t want to come back unless he sees money taken out of US politics. He sours when asked if he’d given up on America. “I do not agree with that question concept.
I never felt that my own ambitions were separate from what I thought was best for the planet. Patriotism never felt healthy to me.