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Canada-US immigration: Are depressed Americans moving north?

WASHINGTON –

It wasn’t just the relentless march of deadly shootings, the draconian assault on abortion rights or even the prospect of Donald Trump’s return that led Mackenzie Fresquez to discover a move to Canada.

Rather, it is a sense of conformity that in the United States, a country that supposedly reveres the government of Abraham Lincoln, because and for its people, she is powerless to do anything about it.

“It really feels hopeless,” said Fresquez, 29, who lives in the Denver suburb of Lakewood with her husband, Isaac.

Both are outdoor enthusiasts who work as land surveyors in Colorado, where Fresquez moved from Ohio so she can frolic in the shadows of her beloved Rocky Mountains and a start a family someday.

But sending your kids to school in the US doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore, she said – and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change.

“Even if we do elect all the right people – which, even if it takes a long time in a country so divided – that’s just how our government is set up and how our government is formed,” Fresquez said. how it works right now”.

“I really feel like there’s nothing I can do, even if I become an activist and get people to vote – I really don’t know if it will change that much.”

Her adopted home has a dark history of mass shootings: Littleton, the site of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, is nearby, as is Aurora, where a gunman was killed. killed 12 people during a midnight movie premiere a decade ago.

Since May, three mass shootings – Buffalo, NY, Uvalde, Tex., and Highland Park, Ill. – killed 36 people in two months, including 19 children in a Texas elementary school classroom.

Just last year, Fresquez said, a friend was leaving a grocery store in Boulder just 20 minutes before a gunman entered and killed 10 people. “Things like that just remind me that it can really happen anywhere.”

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada statistics show a fairly steady increase in the number of people from the United States being granted Canadian permanent residence each year since 2015.

After a sharp drop during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the number of successful US applicants will reach 11,950 in 2021, up from just 7,655 in 2015 and the highest annual total since 1980.

So far, 2022 is shaping up to be another banner year: 3,235 applications were approved in the first quarter, the highest total for that three-month period in the past eight years.

In total, 70,330 applications from the United States have been approved since the end of 2014, including 5,040 in the first five months of 2022 alone.

Forward-thinking Americans have no shortage of motivation.

What matters most to many is the Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that for nearly 50 years effectively guaranteed women’s right to a safe and legal abortion.

Fresquez, whose husband is Hispanic, said she fears the split between church and state is collapsing in a country where the conservative Supreme Court is dramatically reshaping cultural contours. and American society.

The couple are looking to move to Alberta, applying for work permits as part of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement that streamlines the approval process for about 60 different specialty occupations.

“There are other precedents based on the same precedent that they negated when they overthrew Roe, one of which was interracial marriage,” she said.

“This may be a bit extreme thinking, but what if something like that is revealed? Will our marriage be affected?”

Jo Kreyling, a video game developer who runs Pillow Fight Games out of her northern Virginia home with husband Conrad, said she is actively planning to move her family to Vancouver Island.

Kreyling wants another child. But her family vacations each year in North Carolina, one of about two dozen states where the post-Roe crackdown on abortion has been carried out or is underway.

“If I have an ectopic pregnancy in the Outer Banks for two years, will it be safe for me?” she asked loudly.

“From big things like Roe vs. Wade to things that are extremely local, it all affects idea #1, ‘It’s not safe to have a family here.’

A vivid illustration of the US hysteria around abortion took place this week in Indiana, where the shocking case of a 10-year-old rape victim has become a political flashpoint. fluctuations.

The girl, unable to have an abortion in her home state of Ohio, traveled to Indiana for the procedure, under state law that prohibits abortions after 22 weeks, except in the case of a medical emergency.

But that hasn’t stopped the state’s attorney general from vowing to investigate the doctor who performed it, and some right-wing lawmakers and media outlets initially doubted the reports were even true.

Of course, attracting shares and moving to Canada is more difficult than one might think.

While the federal government has a variety of channels and programs designed to attract certain migrants, immigration experts say it’s important to understand that not everyone is eligible.

Attorney Henry Chang, a Toronto-based partner in the Dentons Employment and Labor group who specializes in Canada-US business, said: immigration.

“In Canada, certain skills and attributes take precedence over others. Therefore, not everyone may be eligible for Canadian permanent residence.”

There are three main categories for those interested in permanently immigrating to Canada, and they all have rigorous criteria.

Applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker program must meet minimum standards for work experience, language skills, and education before being scored on multiple factors.

A passing score – 67 out of 100 – adds candidates to a pool of candidates known as Express Entry, where they are assessed a second time; the highest level of them is invited to apply for permanent residence.

Migrants who will have at least one year of recent skilled work experience in Canada on a valid work permit may be eligible under the Canadian Experience Class and be added to the Express Entry pool on that basis.

The federal Skilled Trades Program is open to people with at least two years of recent work experience in a variety of fields ranging from work and construction industries to chefs, butchers, and bakers. .

Most experts agree that the best strategy for those seeking permanent residence is a long-term one. For example, they can apply for a study permit to earn a degree in Canada, which could lead to a work permit, which would make Experience Class an option at a later date.

In Canada, where abortion is abolished, the federal Liberal government has vowed to protect women’s right to choose, although it gave few details.

“This decision not only impacts Americans and Canadians but also has potential consequences,” said Cid Cabillan, who is in charge of affairs for Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“Canada is in regular contact with the U.S. government on matters related to our common border and immigration. We will continue to work with our American partners while ensuring we remain fair. and compassion for immigration between the two countries.”


This report by the Canadian Press was first published on July 17, 2022.

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