Immigration lawyer flooded with calls day after Trump elected
Published Wednesday, November 9, 2016 5:05PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 9, 2016 6:56PM PST
A Victoria immigration lawyer says the calls are already streaming in from Americans asking how they can escape a Donald Trump presidency.
David Aujla says his phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from residents who aren’t just curious about immigrating to Canada – they’re dead serious about it.
“It was interesting that back in March, when we had Super Tuesday, I had a lot of inquiries,” Aujla told CTV News. “It is almost an incredible difference in the type of telephone calls I’m getting now. They want to know, ‘I want to start now. How do I start my application?’ It’s almost more from inquiries into actual, full-blown applications.”
The interest in Canada spiked as it became clear that Trump was the frontrunner for the White House Tuesday night.
Canada’s national immigration website crashed, with some calling it proof Americans weren’t happy with the election results.
So far, calls have come from a diverse group of people, including lawyers, illegal immigrants and spouses of Canadians, Aujla said.
He compared the immigration interest to that of 2000, after then-Republican nominee George W. Bush squeaked out a win against Democrat Al Gore.
“After Bush was elected in 2000, American applications spiked. The number of Americans that came to Canada increased 30 per cent,” he said. “I expect this to spike even more now that President Trump will be in power.”
He said he expected up to 20,000 U.S. applications could come following the election.
Could ‘brain drain’ bring scientists north?
At least one American has already made the leap over the border.
Fearing the worst, dual citizen Chris Judge packed up his life in California just a day before the election – and moved to Victoria.
“I just had this gut feeling,” said Judge, an aspiring actor who was just signed to a talent agency in Vancouver. “There’s so much animosity. Everybody’s so divided. I see a lot more opportunity for myself up here.”
Some believe that sentiment will drive some of America’s brightest minds north of the border.
BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist, says Trump’s “anti-science” stance could push some academics right into Canada’s arms.
“If you’re a climate scientist in the States right now, and I’ve seen some of the emails from my colleagues, you’re wondering what your future is,” said Weaver. “If you look purely selfishly, Canada will benefit from a huge influx of innovation and creativity coming with the scientists who will start looking to come this way.”
Canada normally only accepts 6,000 Americans a year, so many applicants will be in for a rude awakening.
“Unless you have a job, it’s very difficult to get in or qualify for permanent residence, so you do need that job,” said Aujla.