The immigrants gathered at the border waiting to get into the United States face an uphill battle. They claim that they are subjected to brutality by gangs and cannot live in that environment any longer. Others claim that there is no credible proof (more than hearsay) that these conditions exist. We also don’t know who, among these people are actually fleeing legitimate oppression and danger, those who want to gain access to America for the purpose of simply creating a better life for themselves, or, how many wish to gain access for illegal purposes. Regardless of which camp they may fall into, here they are, and we’re a compassionate country.
This proposal is simple, and, it can eliminate the need for a border wall.
Transport them in buses from Mexico to the Amtrak station in San Diego and take them by train to Vancouver Canada (is a liberal country with opportunities similar to those here in the U.S.)
Amtrak currently runs two trips per day and the number of cars in the train can be expanded as necessary to accommodate the numbers needed. The trains are comfortable, air conditioned and Canada With 2 trains scheduled per day. The trip is 41 hours, and at a cost of approximately $110 per person. (Amtrak would love to have so many full cars!) As a compassionate country, we could give each person holding a ticket a meal voucher for $100 so they can survive the trip in comfort (not to leave out that the trip will be an extraordinary experience as they travel up the Pacific coast). There is also free WiFi on the train!
Let’s assume that the number of Central Americans gathered at the border is 1,000. The cost to the U.S. will be approximately $210,000 for the group now in limbo at the border.
The total number of Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States is estimated to be 409,000, according to statistics released by the Obama administration in 2016. If we give them all this wonderful opportunity to move to a country that invites immigrants (according to Canadian president Justin Trudeau), we have solved a big portion of our illegal immigration issue for $86.1 million annually (approximately the cost of 24 trips to the Trump ‘Southern White House’, according to Politifact.com, a left-leaning, Pulitzer Prize-winning website).
This solution would also cost significantly less that the $21.6 billion a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) internal report in February of this year estimated.
True, Canada is much colder than El Salvador, but that may be a small price to pay to escape gang violence at home.
The only glitch in this plan is if Canada is not as welcoming as its rhetoric, but Justin Trudeau is Canadian and Canadians don’t lie — just ask them! If Vancouver, British Columbia becomes too crowded, the Trans Can railway presents a very efficient and effective way to both move these immigrants east to the more prosperous and industrious provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec (again, with free WiFi). A trip from Vancouver to Toronto, Ontario costs approximately $431 CN on the high end to $176 CN to Edmonton, Alberta on the low end.
My Nobel Prize for Human Rights will be humbly accepted on behalf of all Americans – Central and otherwise.
Pete Peterson lives in Branford.