Last week, Minnesota Republicans announced they wanted to introduce an anti-immigration bill, similar to that passed by Arizona.
"We have an illegal immigration problem here in Minnesota," the bill's sponsor Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) explained to Politics in Minnesota. "We've had it for years."
Finally. Unlike with Arizona, this bill is something I can fully applaud. There are an estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants in Minnesota, at least according to crack Republican estimators. And like Arizona, Minnesota has illegal immigrants pouring into the state because it also shares borders with another country. Unlike Arizona, however, that country is Canada.
Illegal Canadians have long been a cause of mine. It's an issue of national importance overlooked by the all-too easy shadow of Mexico. Back when vigilantes started patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border and demanded a giant wall be built, I wrote about the dangers of Canadians sneaking in, too, and the need for a wall on America's northern border.
"If you were honestly concerned about keeping illegal aliens out of the United States," I noted in May, 2006, "you'd want to keep them all out. Right?" Of course some people dismiss this, insisting there are no 'criminal cartels' of Canadians trying to slip in illegally. But then, how do you explain William Shatner? And Howie Mandel?
It turns out I was years ahead of my time.
Oh, sure, it's unlikely that many illegal Canadians would be interested in picking vegetables or doing grunt menial labor, but none of that would be taking work that anyone else wants. But illegal Canadians -- ah, those are people who can blend right in and take your job. Some cushy position as a secretary or in upper-management. Or selling double-lattes. Or one of those temp holiday jobs when department stores need to add extra staff. The next time some salesperson asks, "May I help you?" and they're just a little too polite -- guess what, they're probably an illegal Canadian.
If you don't think there are illegal Canadians in the United States, you're hurting America. When the government instituted a practice called "expedited removal" along our northern border back in 2006, officials claimed that up to 500 illegal Canadians would be deported each year. At that rate, it would take 200 years to get rid of them all in Minnesota.
Illegal immigration from Canada is as big a problem as Mexico. Just look at a map. We share 5,000 miles of border with Canada, the longest in the world -- but a paltry 1,900 miles with our neighbors to the south. Yet Mexico gets all the attention, all the armed militia, all the wall-building material. Is this fair? Is this safe??!!
Some unpatriotic deniers would insist it's not the same problem as with Mexico. After all, why would Canadians want to illegally sneak across the border to live in America? Have you ever spent a winter in Manitoba? Have you ever spent a day in New Brunswick? Have you ever tried speaking two legally-mandated languages? They speak French there, you know.
The problem of illegal Canadians is far more insidious than you think. I've spent time in Minnesota, and can tell you that it's really hard to distinguish a Canadian from the locals. They blend in really easily. Especially in Minnesota. For starters, Canadians look just like you and me. (Unless you're black or Hispanic, but you get my point.) They speak perfect English. And they wear nice shoes.
So, it's about time that we have an anti-immigration bill in Minnesota to deal with illegal Canadians. But once we have the bill, our problems don't stop there.
How does it get enforced? What is it about an illegal Canadian that would make them "reasonably suspicious" to be stopped und show zer papers? It's so much more difficult than with illegal Mexicans. For one thing, they're not Mexican. You can't just stop and question someone simply because they look... well, very white.
True, there's their tell-tale dialect. But a person can just avoid saying things like, "I'm going ootside." And of course legal Canadians say "oot," so that's not suspicious, just silly. Moreover, Minnesotans have their own strange dialect, so everyone blends together. See how difficult it is?
There are two ways to detect an illegal Canadian:
One is excessive politeness. Normal politeness, of course, is not suspicious, because they could be a perfectly legal Canadian. But someone illegal will try at all costs to avoid confrontation. If that happens - if someone is so polite your teeth ached, bam, you've got reasonable cause.
The other way is if the person is using phrases to avoid words that would otherwise have an "oot" in them. Like "I'm leaving the house and going through the front door so that I'll be away from the inside and in open air." That, my friend, is the language of an illegal Canadian.
Difficult as this problem is, though, don't despair. Because there's one thing about illegal Canadians that, once you've established "reasonable suspicion," makes proof and deportation drop-dead easy. Indeed, it's the greatest give ever to law enforcement: if you ask an illegal Canadian if they are illegal -- they will tell you the truth.
So, hat's off to Minnesota. It's about time someone shined a light on the illegal immigration problem with our neighbors to the north.
Now, if only we could start building that 5,000 mile wall, we'll finally be on our way.