Race to the White House: Border closure stops people ‘moving to Canada’ if Trump wins

History is repeating itself in more ways than one as Donald Trump chases four more years in office as President of the United States.

In 2016, hordes of celebrities and their fellow US citizens pledged to flee the country to Canada if Trump was elected.

Some, like actor Lena Dunham, later backtracked on their statement.

“It’s easy to joke about moving to Canada. It’s harder to live, fully and painfully aware of the injustice surrounding us, to cherish and fear your country all at once. But I’m willing to try,” she said after Trump’s victory.

The land of the maple leaf saw an uptick in Americans trying to move over the border after the Republican Party presidential nominee beat his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton, according to figures from Immigration Canada.

CTV News reported applications from Americans for permanent residency in Canada grew from 6819 in 2015 and 7715 in 2016 to 9018 in 2017 – the year of Trump’s inauguration.

Public expressions of a desire to move away – specifically to Canada – have returned ahead of the 2020 US presidential election on November 3 when Americans will decide onTrump or Democrat Joe Biden.

Some have labelled the statements “ridiculous” and indicative of privilege.

Others noted Trump built a wall on the US-Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings.

But there is one rather glaringly big problem stopping US citizens from making the move in 2020.

On October 19, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau announced a 30-day extension of the US-Canada border closure.

He said non-essential travel will remain restricted until at least November 21, 2020.

It marked the seventh extension of the border closure agreement since it began in late March.

Trudeau told a Winnipeg radio station, in regards to the number of Covid-19 infections, “the States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders”.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said: “Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

The US Department of Homeland Security said the government is “taking necessary action to fight against this pandemic together” with the Canadian government.

According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, the US has recorded more than 8.7 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 226,000 deaths.

Canada has recorded around 225,000 cases and just over 10,000 deaths.

To enter Canada at present, foreign nationals arriving from the US must prove to the Canada Border Services Agency they are travelling for an essential/non-discretionary purpose or are an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

“If you are a foreign national arriving from the US, to enter Canada, you must prove to the CBSA that you are travelling for a non-discretionary (essential) purpose or an immediate family member, are not presenting signs or symptoms of Covid-19, and have a plan to quarantine for 14 days unless exempted,” the agency states.

“Travel to Canada for discretionary reasons (non-essential), such as for tourism, recreation or entertainment is currently prohibited.

“Unless exempted, if you do not have a non-discretionary (essential) reason to travel to Canada, a border services officer will deny you entry.

“If you cause a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this (Quarantine) Act or the regulations, you could be liable for up to $1 million in fines and/or imprisonment of up to three years.”

The CBSA states people living in the US and coming to Canada directly are exempt from the travel restrictions if their valid confirmation of permanent residence was issued before March 18, 2020.

Those also able to make the jump are Canadian expats including citizens and dual citizens with a valid Canadian passport.

“We periodically – and more so lately – talk about, depending on what happens in November, do we move back to Canada?” Tristan Wallis, 39, told the National Post earlier this month.

“It gives you the confidence to sort of sit and wait and see what happens, knowing that if things get really, really, really bad, you don’t have to start freaking out and planning for it.”

He added: “It would have to get bad enough here for us to want to leave and go back to Canada, where maybe we would be giving up some of the benefits of being down here.”

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