We have heard for years about aliens seeking to illegally enter the United States from the south dying in the heat of the desert along the southern border.
This past winter we began to hear about the exact opposite — aliens with dubious or no credentials fleeing from the United States to Canada, and risking freezing to death in the process.
In both cases, the aliens involved lack legal status, both groups seek what they regard as a better life north of the border in question, and both groups face serious risks doing so. One group has had lots of media attention in the States, but there has been little attention paid to (the admittedly much smaller numbers of) those headed toward Canada.
Why would an illegal alien who was safely in the United States go to Canada, an American reader might ask? Why bother when the arrest rate of illegal aliens in the interior of the United States is so low?
I was reminded of all this by a not very fearsome aspect of these movements — up-state New York cabdrivers overcharging some of these northward-bound migrants. According to a newscast by Channel Five in Burlington, Vt., three taxi companies in upstate New York have been charging up to $300 for trips from Plattsburgh, N.Y., to the border, when $50 to $75 would have been appropriate; the cab companies have been fined. Those paying the cabdrivers were presumably illegally in the United States.
Then, looking at the Canadian press, I found several accounts of this kind of movement in the winter between Minnesota and Manitoba, usually involving people from Somalia, Ghana, and other African nations.
All were seeking refuge in Canada following harrowing walks in the winter — one of the crossers lost all of his fingers and one of his thumbs to the cold weather.
I know it is not nice to blame the victims when things go wrong. And no one can expect most illegal aliens to be astute enough to be aware of the toothless enforcement of the immigration law, but even if they cannot find, or understand, or even know about, apprehension statistics, maybe they can read a thermometer. Maybe they could figure out that waiting until April or May might be a good idea.
Walking north into Canada on a spring day might even be a pleasant experience!
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