Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Canada or Bust: American refugees' journey to the far North

Canada's place in the world. Often ignored in most news reports and mistaken as an"second America with a funny accent," Canada is bordered to its South by the United States, West by Russia :) and the U.S. state of Alaskathe East by Greeland, Iceland and the British Isles. Canada also borders the Arctic Circle and is famous for its Putoine, maple syrup, health system and people. In terms of climate for being deathly cold in winter. Most Canadians live within the Southern portions of Canada along the border from Vancouver in the far west British Colombia all the way to Newfoundland and Labrador in the East.

Democracy Now: U.S. refugees going to Canada

While the focus on illegal immigration is normally turned south to the U.S. Mexico border, the northern border between Canada and United States has been getting some attention. Somali and Sudanese refugee families have been slogging through snow from Minnesota and New York to reach Canada. It doesn't matter if they make it to Toronto, rural Quebec or Alberta Canada. The American refugee families are again fleeing a second time not to the United States but out of it. Their reason for fleeing is the fear that sits in the back of many people's minds of Trump's erratic childish behaviour and swinging migration and refugee plans. Many families are worried rightfully of so of being banned or swept up in ongoing deportations that have been occurring across the U.S. Many refugee families came into the country legally through a vetting process that took years just for them to be approved for resettlement. It is the uncertainty that has many worried. Former President Obama still holds the record on deporting illegal immigrants (2 million) among his presidential peers. President Trump isn't changing his mind on his travel ban despite being blocked again by another Pacific state federal judge this time Hawaii's Judge. The West Coast states have been putting their collective foot down on Trump's travel ban more so than even Trump's home state of New York, Maryland and Massachusetts who have joined their West Coast cousins in condemning the Travel ban 2.0. The rest of the United States has rolled its eyes to the blockage of the travel ban. Trump is still trying to find a way to override the travel ban block. So far he has publicly at his latest rally in Tennessee and loudly threatened to take his case to the supreme court.

North of the border, the popular Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and parliament has opened its arms and a sympathetic ear to refugees scorned by Trump and wider American society. Canada prides itself on being a nation of immigrant and acknowledges that it was once an sovereign, indigenous nation. Canada also has a larger indigenous population than does the U.S. Canadians at times boast that they have been more welcoming to refugees, immigrants and the oppressed than their neighbours to the South. Especially when the ostracised groups needed protection the most. Canada has taken in a lot of migrants and refugees from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia and now the USA. Nowadays, the Canadian welfare system is overwhelmed by asylum claims and illegal entrants.

Canada has always been seen as a refuge for oppressed Americans throughout history. Enslaved Africans travelled to Canada in the 18th-19th centuries to escape the brutality and horrors of slavery and ethnic cleansing via the Underground RailRoad. Nearly half of African Canadians are of African American descendant and the rest from the Caribbean and Africa. Conscious objectors, draft dodgers and court martial Vietnam soldiers also fled North during the Vietnam war from 1960-1975. More recently Iraq war resisters have found themselves in Canada. It is worth remembering, that various film actresses, actors and millionaires announced no matter what, they'd move to Canada if Trump won the 2016 elections which he did. Six months later, neither the millionaires nor the actresses have raced towards their imagine Canadian promise land. It is the ordinary Americans and refugee families who are practising what the wealthy preached. There is no 1,000+ mile border iron wall on the U.S. Canadian border line. As a matter of fact the Northern border has been wide open (quite literally by the way) with several less militarized border entry points since the modern United States came into existence in 1776. The indigenous peoples of Canada and U.S. like the peoples along U.S./Mexico border didn't care much for physical border walls on indigenous lands since they'd been able to cross without trouble to visit their familial and cultural ties that live on both sides of the border. On the Southern border, the indigenous Tohono O'odham have argued that the more militarized, existing border walls have done more harm in preventing needed access to healthcare and visiting familial ties.

WLWX News: A Senegalese mother was recently deported from Cincinnati, Ohio after being in the U.S. for 20 years.

27 Jamaicans deported from the U.S. in early March

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