Already asylum seekers from the U.S. are crossing the Manitoba border in the depth of winter (29 asylum-seekers cross border into Manitoba over the weekend – Mar 20)

What will happen this summer?  Is it conceivable that the Americans under a Trump administration would actually facilitate a mass exit of some of their estimated 11 million undocumented residents as a way to expeditiously encourage ‘voluntary deportation’?  ‘Walk north and we won’t get in your way.  Let the smug Canadians deal with the arrival of tens of thousands of illegals and see how they like it.’

It would be like a Mariel boatlift, when 125,000 Cubans were allowed to flee to Florida over half a year in 1980.

So what would we do if, say, 10,000 refugees arrived in the Lower Mainland in a week.  And another 10,000 the next.  And the next.

How would we deal with even the basics: finding accommodation and feeding so many?  Would it be a temporary situation or a new reality?

So far, any local official I’ve talked to hasn’t seriously considered the prospect, and as far as I know there is no anticipatory strategies being developed.  But then, it’s not likely that would be publicly acknowledged at this point.

Some thoughts:

  • Having seen the emergence of favelas in South American cities, the best people to call might be Brazilian and Colombian planners.
  • Would the destabilization of Canada be an acceptable outcome?  Would militarization of the northern border be demanded, or even possible?
  • Would there be a negotiated resolution as there was after half a year in the Mariel boatlift?
  • One wonders what the American people would think. Would it change their self-image, as it would the world’s, to see so many flee ‘the best and strongest country in the history of the world?’
  • And what would it do to us?