Shootings, abortion, Trump: Are fed-up Americans serious about moving to Canada?

American Jo Kreyling, who is actively planning to move her family to Vancouver Island, says a number of issues “affect the number one idea of ​​’it’s not safe to have a family here'”.


WASHINGTON — It’s not just the relentless parade of deadly mass shootings, the draconian assault on abortion rights or even the prospect of a Donald Trump comeback that has Mackenzie Fresquez exploring moving to Canada.

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Rather, it is the abiding feeling that in the United States, a country that is supposed to revere the government of Abraham Lincoln, by and for the people, is powerless to do anything about it.

“It really does feel a little desperate,” said Fresquez, 29, who lives in Lakewood, a Denver suburb, with her husband, Isaac.

Both are outdoor enthusiasts who work as land surveyors in Colorado, where Fresquez moved from Ohio so he could have fun in the shadow of his beloved Rocky Mountains and one day raise a family.

But sending kids to school in the US no longer seems like a good idea, he said, and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change.

“Even if we elect all the right people, which, even that, takes a lot in a country that’s so divided, that’s how our government is set up and how it’s working right now,” Fresquez said.

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

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

Since May, three mass shootings — Buffalo, New York, Uvalde, Texas, and Highland Park, Illinois — have killed 36 people in the span of two months, including 19 children in a Texas elementary school classroom.

Last year, Fresquez said, a friend walked out of a Boulder grocery store just 20 minutes before a gunman walked in and killed 10 people. “It’s things like that that remind me that it really can happen anywhere.”

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Statistics from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada show a fairly steady increase in the number of US people granted permanent residence in Canada each year since 2015.

After a sharp decline during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the number of successful applicants in the US reached 11,950 in 2021, down from just 7,655 in 2015 and the highest annual total since at minus 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 eight years.

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

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Progressive-minded Americans are not lacking in motivation.

Most important to many is the Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that for nearly 50 years had effectively guaranteed a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.

Fresquez, whose husband is Hispanic, said she fears the separation between church and state is collapsing in a country where a conservative Supreme Court is dramatically reshaping America’s social and cultural contours.

The couple is exploring moving to Alberta, obtaining work permits under a section of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that streamlines the approval process for some 60 different professional occupations.

“There are other precedents based on the same precedent that they denied when they overturned Roe, one of them is interracial marriage,” he said.

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“This is perhaps a bit of an extreme thought, but what if something like this were revoked? Will our marriage be affected?

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

Kreyling wants to have another child. But her family vacations every year in North Carolina, one of about two dozen states where a post-Roe abortion crackdown is already under way or well advanced.

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

“From the big things like Roe vs. Wade to the extremely local, it’s all impacting the #1 idea of ​​’It’s not safe to have a family here.’”

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A vivid illustration of American abortion hysteria has been unfolding this week in Indiana, where the shocking case of a 10-year-old rape victim has become a volatile political flashpoint.

The girl, unable to get an abortion in her home state of Ohio, traveled to Indiana for the procedure, which was reported in accordance with state laws that prohibit abortions after 22 weeks, except in medical emergencies.

But that didn’t stop the state attorney general from pledging to investigate the doctor who performed it, and certain lawmakers and right-wing media outlets initially doubting the reports were true.

Of course, upping the stakes and moving to Canada is harder than it sounds.

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

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“There are routes you can take, but not all of them, and knowing how to navigate them takes some planning,” said attorney Henry Chang, a Toronto-based partner with the Dentons Labor and Employment group who specializes in Canada-U.S. business. US immigration.

“In Canada, certain skills and attributes take precedence over others. As a result, not everyone will be able to qualify for permanent residence in Canada.”

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

Applicants for the federal skilled worker program must meet minimum standards for work experience, language skills, and educational level before receiving a rating on a variety of factors.

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A passing score, 67 out of 100, adds applicants to the pool of candidates known as Express Entry, where they are tested a second time; the highest-ranking among them are invited to apply for permanent residence.

Prospective immigrants with at least one year of recent skilled work experience in Canada under a valid work permit may qualify under the Canadian Experience Class and be added to the Express Entry pool on that basis.

The Federal Skilled Trades program is reserved for those with at least two years of recent work experience in a variety of disciplines, from industrial work and construction to chefs, butchers, and bakers.

Most experts agree that the best strategy for those seeking permanent residence is long-term. For example, they may apply for a study permit to pursue a degree in Canada, which may lead to a work permit, which would make the experience class an option at a later date.

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In Canada, where abortion is decriminalized, the federal Liberal government has promised to uphold a woman’s right to choose, though it has offered few details.

“This decision does not just affect Americans, and Canada is not immune from the potential repercussions,” said Cid Cavillan, affairs manager for Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“Canada is in regular contact with the US government on issues related to our shared border and immigration. We will continue to work with our American counterparts as we ensure that we remain fair and compassionate regarding immigration between our two countries.”

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