Thursday, May 11, 2017

Up North, Migrants Continue Flight Into Canada

ABC News recently rode along with Plattsburgh, NY cabbie (and Trump voter) Curtis Seymour. Seymour regularly drives migrants the 25 miles from Plattsburgh's Greyhound station to just South of the U.S.-Canadian border. The migrants attempt to cross into Canada without authorization, hoping to seek asylum with our Northern neighbor.

I was most intrigued by this passage in their report:

Most of those border crossers had been living legally in the United States, including people awaiting the outcome of U.S. asylum applications. But Trump's tough talk on illegal immigration has spurred a wave of asylum seekers to leave for Canada, whose government they view as more welcoming to migrants.

And this: "One man from Somalia left behind his U.S. employment authorization card, which won't expire until September 2017."

The idea that the migrants who are traveling into Canada have the right to stay in the US runs counter to prior news coverage - which has focused on asylum seekers who lost their cases in the US and are looking for a second chance in Canada. That narrative was repeated to me by CBP officers working the Northern border this Spring.

On the other hand, maybe those statements are not incompatible. Perhaps asylum seekers are looking around, gauging their odds in the US, and deciding they ought to flee north before they receive a final "no" from a US immigration judge. That would certainly be a rational conclusion for a migrant in proceedings in Atlanta, for example. I look forward to someone's empirical study on the characteristics of migrants fleeing North.


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