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Don't Expect Americans To Rush The Border If Donald Trump Wins

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There has a fair bit of talk about the possibility of Americans flocking to Canada in the event of a Donald Trump presidency. At present, a Trump victory is a long shot. A popular betting site offers 25 cents to the dollar for those betting Hillary Clinton will become president, and $3 for every dollar those betting on Trump.

Yet, even if many Americans were contemplating some escape to Canada in the wake of "Trumpism," doing so would be more complex than might be assumed. Like all other potential immigrants, Americans will need to go through our admission process.

The quickest way to get in would be to claim refugee status. As awful as Trump may be, it's unlikely that his election will transform the United States into something equivalent to a failed state with a significant at-risk population. That's what would need to happen for Americans to be refugees by Canadian officials.

Were Canada to have a country on its border in severe violation of the rights of its citizens, it will mean that we have some serious political and economic challenges with our most important trading partner. A failed neighbouring state might lead to calls by Canadians for protection and, who knows, a badly behaving neighbour might prompt a few to ask that a wall be built between our two countries (ideally those people will also ask for the wall to be paid for by our neighbours).

As the refugee route is highly improbable, Americans keen on coming to Canada are well advised to explore entry as a skilled worker. If they want to expedite their move they'll need to have employment waiting for them prior to departure. If they're easily able to secure a job, it is because they possess a skill needed in our country.

Since similar skills are in demand in the United States, such individuals are not under great economic pressure to leave. But if they do head north, it will still be a few years before they can apply for citizenship and over that period they may arrive at the conclusion that the situation in the United States isn't as catastrophic as predicted.

If they are absolutely determined to move to Canada, another route is to marry a Canadian, though it would apply to persons without a partner. In that regard, there are surely some dating web sites that can facilitate the identification of a spouse.

While media attention has been focused on Americans moving here, a Trump victory might dissuade Canadians from relocating south. Over the past 150 years, Canada has been a big net loser in migration exchanges with the United States.

People have been amongst Canada's leading exports south of the border. Between 1870 and 1900, some 820,000 persons migrated from Canada to the United States; between 1900 and 1950, the figure rose to 2.2 million; and between 1950 and 2000, over 1.2 million made the move. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, some two million Americans reported French-Canadian origins, and 700,000 Canadian ancestry.

Since the start of the 21st century, the gap has narrowed in migration between Canada and the United States. In 2014, U.S. immigration statistics reveal that 17,670 Canadians moved to the United States compared with about 21,300 in the year 2000. In regard to Americans moving to Canada, in 2014, some 8,500 made the move compared with just over 5,800 in the year 2000.

In 2014, the net loss in migration between the two countries fell below 10,000 for the first time in this short century (though it was higher than it was in 1999). It's true that a number of Canadians are attracted to the sunny climate of the southern coast(s) of the United States.

That's not a motivation for Americans coming to Canada. But in the end, it's economy and not politics that is the key driver of migration. So even if Trump defies the odds in November, don't expect Americans to rush to the border.

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