Winnipeg Free Press journalist published a piece on Americans coming to Canada who fear a Trump Presidency. The below is published on the WFP website here.
U.S.-Canada romance quite complex: lawyer
Could Manitoba become a north-of-the-border love nest for Americans escaping the prospect of a Trump presidency?
It could if you believe the hype surrounding the website MapleMatch.com and its promise to save Americans “from living through a Trump presidency by finding genuine ready-to-marry Canadians.”
‘My advice to Canadians who wish to help their American neighbours through a sponsorship application is to make sure they develop a relationship before they get married’
Talk shows and cable news channels have joked about the website started by an Austin, Texas man who reportedly supports Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. It says it is signing up people on both sides of the border but isn’t as yet a full-fledged matchmaking website.
But if it ever gets up and running, MapleMatch.com may not be as sweet of a deal as it sounds, says a Winnipeg immigration lawyer who is the product of a cross-border coupling.
Alastair Clarke said cross-border matches may be easier to make today thanks to the Internet, but immigrating is a lot harder than it was back when his Canadian mom and American dad met and fell in love at university in Chicago.
“Marriages between American and Canadian spouses face significant scrutiny by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) officers,” he said. Under Canadian law, couples have to show their relationship is both “genuine” and not for the “primary purpose” of immigration, said Clarke. Immigration officers have broad discretionary powers to conduct interviews and investigate the marriage to ensure the application meets the legal tests, he said.
“My advice to Canadians who wish to help their American neighbours through a sponsorship application is to make sure they develop a relationship before they get married,” said Clarke. The Federal Court of Canada has confirmed the time leading up to the marriage date is significant during the “primary purpose” investigation, he said. “The relationship should have breadth and depth before the wedding.” Couples who choose not to get married can file an application as common-law partners or conjugal partners, but those applications have to meet additional requirements, he said.
Would Americans seriously consider abandoning their country for the Great White North if Trump becomes president? Maybe, says the spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations.
“In the past we’ve joked about this kind of thing whenever there is a new Islamaphobic policy or some issue targeting American Muslims,” said Ibrahim Hooper in Washington, D.C. “I think people aren’t laughing as much anymore,” he said Friday.
The non-profit council doesn’t take a political position, he said. “We merely react to anti-Muslim rhetoric,” and Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has already hurt people even though the presumptive Republican nominee hasn’t won the presidency. One example he cited was a Muslim woman attacked in Washington by a Trump supporter, who said “When Trump gets in, you guys are gone.”
“He really has mainstreamed Islamaphobia in America,” Hooper said. “That is a really troubling phenomenon that will remain whether or not he is elected president.” Trump losing is nearly as worrisome as is his winning, he said. “It makes you wonder who will be blamed and targeted by his supporters.”
Talk of leaving the U.S. — so far — is just talk, said Hooper. “It’s mainly in comments online and in the discussion phase right now.” He hasn’t yet heard of any American Muslim feeling so threatened they’re planning to take refuge in Canada.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t go that far.”
Read more by Carol Sanders.