March 15, 2016
Leaving If Trump Is Elected? Where You Gonna Go?
Decades back, there was a popular retort leveled at people who found fault with this country: “America: Love it or Leave It.” The phrase isn’t used much anymore, but the whining of disgruntled citizens continues. In this primary election cycle, the tables seem to have turned. Those who feel unbearably angry now are threatening to leave the United States and settle elsewhere in the event that the presidential election results are not to their liking.
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Now that Donald Trump is running for president, the homegrown threats to emigrate to a more palatable environment have accelerated exponentially. Die-hards by the droves, I’m told, have commenced to industriously Google the subject, particularly as it relates to gaining entry into Canada. A stranger I encountered in a salad queue aboard a recent cruise to the Caribbean told me in no uncertain terms that “if Trump is elected, I’m outta here!” Perhaps he was scouting island destinations.
Of course it’s all talk. And even if the defectors were willing to, say, embrace our neighbor to the north, the reverse is not necessarily the case. Still, it’s easier to make promises if they are subject to being overruled by regulations and other mitigating circumstances.
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But let’s just pretend that Trump -- or whoever else alarms voters sufficiently -- is, indeed, the GOP nominee and, despite the odds, is elected our next president. Fearing the unspeakable, those who vowed to quit our shores in that eventuality would have only a couple of months before the inauguration to settle their affairs and leave behind the country they once loved.
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Resignedly, they might bray about making the sacrifice on principle, for the sake of their children’s future. They might explain how, in conscience, they could not live with the people’s wrong-headed choice. They might wonder aloud what America is coming to, and pity those who must endure its decline. And they would likely expect their shocked friends to simultaneously admire their courage and mourn the ugly prospect of their departure -- even though Canada is not really all that far away.
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I don’t know how to say this diplomatically, but Canada doesn’t really want them. And neither do the other nations of the world. The would-be émigrés may have championed porous borders and illegal immigration for America sympathetically, but it doesn’t work that way elsewhere. Nor would they be able to overstay a restricted visa and remain under the radar in another country. The fact is that the legal immigration policies of other lands are far lengthier, intimidating and strictly enforced than our own.
To begin with, nobody in our neighbor nation to the north would take seriously a “political refugee from the United States.” Too many millions of Canadians –including Ted Cruz – have left that country and traveled south with the intention of seeking a more promising future, regardless of politics. Nor does being a hard-working, upstanding citizen here automatically translate into being welcomed elsewhere.
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Unfortunately, there’s no “easy” way to quit the States for good and gain citizenship somewhere else. All desirable venues, including Canada, have restrictive, bureaucratic immigration laws. There is often a “point” system and a long wait
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And forget Denmark, which this year voted to seize the assets of asylum seekers above $1,400 to help cover their expenses. On top of that, the worldwide job market for non-citizens doesn’t look all that rosy. Canada has a policy that discourages giving a job to an “outsider” unless it cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen. Peter Jennings, for example, may have moved to the United States from Canada and become a highly-paid news anchor. But that good fortune is less likely to happen going in the other direction.
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If would-be American émigrés are upset with election results, perhaps they should consider that being disenfranchised is far worse. Our system of democratic elections cannot satisfy all the people all the time. But being an American citizen is a distinct privilege coveted by millions around the globe. Anyone who would seek to abandon it based on the election of a president for a four-year term is an unappreciative, petulant fool.
March 13, 2016
My Way or I’ll Hit The Highway … North!
By Doris O'Brien