Not a day goes by that the United States President Donald Trump doesn’t make front-page headlines. He’s definitely had an effect on his own country, but what about the Canada-US border?
As Canadians, we are intricately tied to the United States, whether we like it or not. Most of us live within 100 miles of the Canada-US border.
Americans, as well, come to Canada for jobs, vacations and to visit family and friends. There are an estimated one to two million Americans living in Canada.
Crossing the US border
It’s not surprising that when people get a criminal record, one of the first things they worry about is whether or not they can cross the Canada-US border.
Since the election of Donald Trump, we’ve heard stories about people both with or without criminal records being pulled over, questioned and even turned back.
The fact is that the United States has been turning away Canadians with criminal records for as long as they have had access to those records. Some people say they have crossed many times without being hassled. Therefore, they think they were subjected to increased scrutiny. However, this has always been the case. A criminal record will not come up in preliminary screening. It’s only when you are pulled over that the border officials will discover your record. Once you have been pulled over you will likely be told to get a waiver, and then your record will be associated with your name in the preliminary screening database.
On the other hand, there does seem to be an increase in the number of people barred for admitting to having used marijuana. Even the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has commented on this. This may not be related to Trump. It could be just a policy change at the US Customs and Border Protection Agency. It could be due to the legalization of marijuana in certain states, and a desire to send a message that marijuana use is still illegal federally. The US may be trying to discourage marijuana tourism, even as states try to capitalize on it. However, Trump does not seem to hold strong views on the issue.
Electronic searches at the Canada-US border
Another issue is the demanding of social media accounts and passwords, which has already been reported. The US government has stated that they are planning to make this a standard vetting procedure. This could become an increasing issue at the Canada-US border.
Whether or not there is increased security at the border today compared to a year ago is hard to determine. Although there has been tough talk directed towards Canada, most of Trump’s focus has been on the US-Mexico border.
Avoid hassle by making sure your travel documents are up-to-date and get a US Entry Waiver if needed.
A new agreement on preclearance at certain airline, rail and bus stations was initially hailed as a convenience and something that would help get people moving faster. However, on closer inspection, civil rights advocates raised concerns that this bill could subject Canadians to interrogations, unwarranted searches and even arrest.
This is not necessarily a Trump effect, as this deal was negotiated with the previous government.
Immigration to Canada
While many Americans claimed they would be moving to Canada, and even went to the effort of looking it up online, the reality is that Americans aren’t moving in vast numbers. Those who are on the move are recent immigrants and refugees. We’ve all heard about the refugee crisis at the border in the news.
Another class of people who are considering leaving the US for Canada are skilled workers living in the US on foreign visas. These are people who are working in sectors like high tech, but don’t like what they are seeing in the news. They may be considering Canada for what appears to be a more welcoming atmosphere. This may be an opportunity for Canada to attract qualified talent to its skilled worker pool.
If you are considering moving to Canada, but you have a DUI, or other criminal record, we can help with temporary and permanent permits. A separate work visa would be required.
Many people with criminal records depend on jobs that are affected by NAFTA. There are well-paying jobs that don’t usually require strict background checks. They can be found in the resource, manufacturing and transportation industries.
However, Trump has stated he would either re-negotiate or cancel NAFTA or impose border taxes that could make it harder for companies to do business in Canada. Many of these long-term goals may be difficult to achieve due because Trump may not have the support of the business community in the US for change. Many retailers and manufacturers have spoken out against these plans, which may cause concern for the Republican Party as a whole.
In an uncertain economy, those with criminal records should always consider obtaining a Record Suspension. This will ensure long-term employability and more resilience to change. You may not work in an industry that requires background checks today, but it’s important to keep your options open.
The effect of Trump’s presidency on the Canada-US border is difficult to measure. However, it underlines the unpredictability of the economy. Take the time today to take care of your record, so that you can ensure long-term stability for your future.
If you are ready to seal your record, or apply for a waiver to cross the US-Canada border, contact us today to get started at 1-866-972-7366.