US Republicans Now Warn: Migration from Canada Is a Problem – Pipa News


US Republicans Now Warn: Migration from Canada Is a Problem –

A group of Republican lawmakers say it’s time to protect the border. No, not that limit. The other, north of the United States. The one that many Americans forget.

Their focus: the border with Canada.

That northern border is mostly an afterthought in American politics, nestled comfortably on the back burner of the country’s burning debates over the Mexican border.

More than two dozen Republicans are on a mission to change that, and they held a news conference outside the Capitol on Tuesday.

They announced the formation of a new northern border security caucus, aimed at signaling concerns about the ever-ignored border with Canada.

Its creation comes as part of a reality check on American political views.

Canadians are well aware of the surge in northward migration, with people entering Canada from Roxham Road in Quebec, spurring Ottawa to push for a new migration pact with the US.

What has received less attention is the exponential wave of migration going the other way.

These US politicians want more people to realize that there is a historic increase from Canada in foreign migrants entering the US, and even Canadians with criminal records trying to sneak in unnoticed.

One speaker after another acknowledged that the magnitude of this challenge is miniscule compared to the border with Mexico, but said it’s time to pay attention.

The group’s wish list is still poorly defined, but what they clearly want is more monitoring technology and more agents, which means more jobs in their border districts.

Migrants seen with suitcases in the snow.
Migration to Canada via Roxham Road in Quebec, seen here, is a major political issue in Canada. Politicians in Ottawa and Quebec are eager to renegotiate the Safe Third Country pact with Washington so that the US takes back migrants entering Canada at irregular entry points such as this one. (Christine Muschi/Reuters)

‘We are under attack’

“We’re under attack because we don’t have a border,” said Ryan Zinke, a Montana congressman who served briefly in Trump’s cabinet.

“This is a national security issue and the northern tier has its own challenges.”

Tuesday’s events shed light on challenges from all sides: for this particular group of politicians, for the US and for Canada.

The limited interest in Canadian migration was apparent inside and outside the US Capitol on Tuesday.

Not a single American reporter showed up to ask questions at the open-air press conference.

The only questions came from Canadian journalists, for example about how the countries could cooperate on migration.

Some politicians didn’t come to talk about that.

After a few such questions, the top politician there, the No. 3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik, stepped in to focus on what really matters here: There is a border crisis and it is President Joe Biden’s fault.

It was a similar theme at the Capitol on Tuesday at the first hearing of the new Republican majority on the House Homeland Security Committee.

The hearing focused on the impact on states across the country of lax borders, with migrants and drugs entering every state.

In this border hearing, Canada was not even an afterthought.

This became clear when a Michigan witness gave a heartbreaking story of the death of her two sons from fentanyl-laced pills.

The committee chair, Mark Green, pointed out, “You are in Michigan. … Quite a way from the border.”

The witness, Rebecca Kiessling, a conservative activist, lives in Rochester Hills, Michigan, a 40-minute drive from Canada in Detroit in moderate traffic.

That’s because in American political parlance, “the” border is almost always the border that’s about a 24-hour drive south of Kiessling’s home, into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

This group of northern conservatives wants to change that.Fox news and other US outlets have in fact written about the huge one migration wave from Canada.

The increase is real.

The recent trend

US Customs and Border Protection statistics show exponential growth in migration from Canada, with over 55,000 encounters in the first four months of this fiscal year — nearly eight times as much as in 2021.

These encounters can be anything from an arrest to an asylum application, and disproportionately involve citizens of India, Mexico and Canada.

At the recent rate, there would be nearly 170,000 such encounters on the northern border this year, which, for context, is barely five percent of the comparable number for the southern border with Mexico, which is trending toward three million encounters.

Yet these legislators want Americans to realize drugs as drugs fentanyl And cocaine also come via Canada, albeit in smaller quantities.

A sheet of paper held in the air, with numbers on it.
The Republicans handed journalists a map showing how few border agents are posted at the border with Canada compared to Mexico. (Alexander Panetta/CBC)

“These numbers are outrageous. And they cannot go unanswered,” said Representative Lisa McClain, a Republican from Michigan.

“We’re here today to say, ‘We have a problem. Let’s work together to solve it.’”

What they want is better communication and detection technology, of the kind more commonly deployed on the southern border.

They also want more border agents.

A Texas Republican told a story of meeting border agents in his county who had been transferred five times from their regular posts up north.

Lawmakers circulated statistics: Barely 10 percent of U.S. border guards are stationed along the Canadian border.

New York Republican Nick Longworthy said his part of the country is understaffed because border agencies are underfunded and struggling.

“Msources for border patrols [are] trying to put a turnstile on a gushing crisis on the southern border,” he said.

North Dakota’s Kelly Armstrong said he’s sure Canadians are also frustrated. He said the Biden administration is allowing illegal travel while blocking legal travel and trade with an ongoing travel vaccine mandate and its rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

There was no Canada bashing at the event.

Representative Elise Stefanik speaks at a desk in Congress.
Elise Stefanik is the oldest member of the group. She is the No. 3 House Republican and also represents a frontier district in New York State. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Several speakers cited Canada’s more permissive policies, such as visa-free travel for Mexicans and looser student visa regulations, as the driving force behind the phenomenon.

They suggested that people who cannot legally enter the US have an incentive to travel to Canada and try to enter illegally.

A Border Union official at the event referred to the tragic case last year involving a family of four from India: the father got a Canadian student visa and the whole family then froze to death while trying to walk into the US from Manitoba.

What does this mean for Canada?

There is no guarantee that this political effort will affect Canada.

But it is a sign of the political pressure Biden faces at home on immigration — with Canada asking him to take in more migrants.

The governments of Canada and Quebec are pushing for expansion of the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement.

But the US Ambassador to Ottawa, in a recent interview with CBC News, refused to even acknowledge that the countries are discussing this.

A Washington-based immigration expert, Theresa Cardinal Brown, told CBC News the US has no political bias to address this issue now.

However, in that same interview, Cardinal Brown also said that the spike in migration from Canada may provide an incentive for the US to talk.

“That can be a basis for conversation,” said Brown, an immigration analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

LOOK | What drives migrants to Canada:

What drives migrants to make a dangerous flight to Canada?

16 hours ago

Duration 7:03

Warning: Video Contains Graphics | Violence and oppression in Central and South America are driving a wave of migrants to the US-Mexico border and for many the new target in Canada. CBC’s Paul Hunter travels to Juarez, Mexico to learn more about what drives them to make the perilous flight north.

The US has not paid much attention to the northern border since the post-9/11 era, when concerns about terrorist movements dominated conversation between Canada and the US and led to security measures slowing travel.

Canadian officials and diplomats usually like that.

On the other hand, this gives Canada a new argument. When Biden goes to Ottawa, his Canadian counterparts could make another pitch for a migration deal, arguing it would help both countries control illegal entry, while telling the president, let’s make a deal.

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