Following one of the most divisive US elections in recent history, following on the heels of the similarly divisive vote for Brexit in the UK, we asked if people were making plans to leave the country because of the uncertainty and political climate. Our question was met with hundreds of compelling, sometimes polarising and often worried responses.
Hundreds of compelling responses? Let’s bear that in mind as we peruse those that the BBC believes are the most compelling.
“On November 9th I met with a lawyer and began the process of applying for residency in Spain. My wife is an EU citizen and I don’t foresee our family returning to the US,” wrote Jonathan Allen. “It breaks my heart.”
So not an all-American family, then.
Marie-Denise Jolie has firm and imminent plans. “Moving to Canada on 8 Feb 2016. I am born and raised in [the] US, even served in [the] US Army, but have dual citizenship because one parent is Canadian. I never expected to move to Canada but I just can not stay here and I doubt I will be back other than short visits.
This one is American, but appears to be going alone.
“We are a gay couple, and had been planning on a wedding in June,” wrote Jim Brunk. But instead, the couple planned to file their marriage license in late January. “My partner is HIV positive and Jewish. Three strikes against us here in the newly forming Republic.
Somebody is looking for a residency visa when HIV positive? Good luck with that: most countries require you to have an HIV test when applying for residency, and they generally prefer it to come back negative. Countries such as Canada, for example.
“Not sure where we will end up, perhaps Canada.
Oh. Somebody hasn’t done their homework, have they?
“Not sure where we will end up, perhaps Canada. I am Mennonite and will be contacting Mennonite Central Committee to see how they can help us gain entry into Canada.”
I confess to know nothing about the Mennonite church in Canada, but let’s assume Wikipedia does:
In 2015, the first same-gender marriage was officiated in a congregation of the Mennonite Church Canada with the denomination clarifying that each congregation is free to decide its own position on the issue.
Perhaps our fleeing friends will find a Mennonite congregation in Canada who is willing to help an openly gay man emigrate from the US with his HIV positive Jewish boyfriend, but he might want to consider the possibility that they won’t.
For Phil Morel, leaving is under serious consideration: “My wife is Mexican, I hold an EU passport. We both feel very disenfranchised from the bigotry, inflammatory language and dangerous positions taken, even if we do live in California.”
This family also doesn’t sound very American.
Alexa Tenjou was blunt and circumspect: “I teach overseas and due to the political climate, I have no intention on returning,” she wrote. “As a black American and a woman, things are decidedly stacked against me.”
This lady is not actually living in America.
Catherine Hannan sees so much turmoil ahead that she and her partner are making plans to leave before it’s too hard to leave the country. “We live in a rural area where people are already starting to regret voting for Trump. We tried to warn them but they were blinded by their religious convictions,” wrote Hannan, who says she stands out in her community because she’s originally from California, which she says is a more progressive state.
Here we have two people from “progressive” California who moved to a Red state and started lecturing the locals on how they should vote and poured scorn on their religious beliefs. Yeah, I bet that went down well. When the BBC says “she stands out in her community” I suspect they mean “she is detested in her community”. No wonder they’re leaving, but for some reason they want to quit the entire country rather than return to oh-so-wonderful California. Why would that be, then?
“We are leaving everything behind including our livestock…We see the changes coming and know it’s only a matter of time before there will be a mass exodus.”
You’re leaving your livestock behind? Not the most rational of people, are they?
For some, temporary moves abroad are turning into permanent or long-term stays, changing plans of returning to America.
Which is important, especially when the BBC is struggling to find any examples of normal, functioning American families actually leaving.
“I’m a US citizen living in the UK. Originally, I had plans of returning to the US once I finished my master’s degree this past December. Once Trump won the election, I postponed my move,” wrote Angelina Velarde. “Luckily for me, my husband is a British citizen. Due to this, I’m on a spousal visa that’s valid for 2.5 years.”
I like this. She planned to move back to the US but when Trump got elected she turned to her husband and said “Hey, I’m sticking around after all!” I bet he’s chuffed to find out that his marital arrangements depend on who wins elections in the United States.
Emily Ann Granger moved to Sydney in December, having decided to do so earlier in 2016. “My partner is an Australian citizen and we had contemplated his move to the US, but are so glad we made the right decision [to leave the US for Australia] given everything that is happening and yet to happen back home.”
She decided to move to Sydney before Trump was even the nominee, and has now been there for just over two months. But she’s not going back, because of Trump. Uh-huh.
For Jeanne Dross, age and available healthcare have limited her options.
“I am a retired person, as are many of my friends: the point system generally disqualifies us in almost all European countries, Australia, and New Zealand,” she wrote. “In the few places we are considered acceptable, such as Portugal, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, and Panama, the cost of health insurance is such that we cannot afford to leave because, though we have paid Medicare [taxes] for decades, coverage stops when we cross the border.”
So countries generally don’t want immigrants who cant work, will make large claims on their health services, and don’t want to buy health insurance. Who knew? Bear in mind that a lot of these people want to leave because Trump’s immigration policies mirror those of the countries they want to move to.
Let us remind ourselves that the BBC received “hundreds of compelling responses” to their call for stories of Americans fleeing the Trumpocaust. If these are the ones they decided to print, one wonders what didn’t make the cut.