Canada has built a reputation for warmly embracing Syrians. But most of the newcomers are from elsewhere. At first, it was mostly Haitians in the U.S. who made the journey. Some said they were spooked by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and worried about losing the temporary residence status they’d been given in the U.S. following the 2010 earthquake in their native country. In recent months, Nigerians have become the most frequent border crossers. Many get visitor visas to come to the U.S., then take a bus or taxi to upstate New York, where they walk north into Quebec—straight into the arms of Canadian border guards waiting to arrest them.
The migrants are typically detained for a few hours and then bussed to an emergency shelter in Montreal, where they stay and work on their asylum applications. While they wait for their cases to be adjudicated, they can access healthcare and send their children to public school for free, just like any Canadian.
Could this be the solution to our country’s healthcare funding issues? Americans who need an expensive procedure walk across the border, ask for asylum, and then get admitted to a hospital in Montreal.