Movin’ On Up?

November 18th, 2004

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Finally convinced that the record would show a majority of voting Ohioans do indeed want four more years, I clicked-off the TV. Unable to sleep, I continued my read of Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.” Now there’s a scary combo for those of my ilk. And I’m not even American!

I tried to imagine the feelings of those 56 million Kerry voters and I wondered how many of them might actually pull up stakes this time. As a Canadian Immigration lawyer, I had seen earlier signs of a growing interest in Canada from Americans. It began in the aftermath of 9/11 and increased again with the invasion of Iraq. While the interest was there, the number of Americans submitting applications for permanent residence in Canada did not increase substantially. I questioned whether these election results would compel more Americans to take the next step and apply.

It did not take long for me to realize that this time something had changed. Traffic to our website, already significant, more than doubled on November 3rd and shows little indication of abating. Likewise, for phone calls and e-mails. And Americans are submitting applications. They are doing it with heavy hearts, but they are doing it nonetheless.

So what’s different now? From my conversations with Americans who have decided to move, their prevailing feeling is one of helplessness. At their core, they feel their government does not speak for them on so many issues and, just as importantly, they feel powerless to change the direction they see America headed in.

Of course it is still early and it may be that this trend will peter out. Canada will have experienced its 15 minutes of fame. But I’m guessing that is not the case. The people going forward with applications are not just the usual big city suspects, but also include a fair number of individuals residing in small red-state communities. I expect this election may very well be a watershed event in American history and in cross-border migration.

Blog written by David Cohen

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