Though few people cross from Canada into the United States at an unofficial point each year, the goal of the policy would be to help U.S. border guards detect irregular crossers, sources told Global News.
But social media users, using the #NoCanadian hashtag, say they don’t really believe this would be a problem, especially during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Many are taking the opportunity to say that very few — if not, zero — Canadians would choose to illegally cross into the U.S., given the current pandemic. After all, the U.S. does not have a universal health-care system and currently has a greater number of COVID-19 cases than Canada.
“‘I think I’ll slip across the border illegally where the healthcare is worse and the President thinks people’s lives are dispensable,’ said no Canadian ever,” one Twitter user tweeted.
Another Twitter user shared a GIF of a tumbleweed crossing an empty road, writing: “Live feed shows the number of Canadians trying to enter the US.”
“Live shot of Canadians waiting to sneak into the U.S.,” one person wrote, along with a photo of an airport customs area with nobody in line.
“First of all, no Canadian wants to be near a country that has coronavirus spreading like bullet trains due to their inadequate and poorly managed health care system,” another tweeted.
Though the White House has been pushing for this, no official decision has been made yet.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news, acknowledging that conversations around the topic are taking place.
“Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world, and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also weighed in during a briefing shortly afterwards with reporters, saying Canadian cabinet ministers and diplomats have been working to try to make it clear to the Americans that this is not a plan Canada supports.
“Canada is strongly opposed to this U.S. proposal, and we’ve made that very clear to our U.S. counterparts,” she said, noting Canadian officials first learned of the proposal “a couple of days ago.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
— With files from Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson, James Armstrong and Amanda Connolly
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