Leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, dozens of overconfident celebrities and political figures promised to flee to Canada if Trump emerged victorious (we noted them all here: "These Are The Celebrities Who Vowed To Leave America If Trump Wins"). Unfortunately, none of them have announced plans to follow through on those promises despite news from Canada's immigration officials that applications for political refugee status from Americans was up 5x YoY in November.
That said, this may be one of those times when a YoY% change does not really do the absolute number justice, because that 5-fold increase in refugee applicants translates into... 28 people filing asylum applications in November 2016.
Moreover, as HeatStreet points out, none of them are likely to actually be granted asylum with only 2 requests being approved for Americans since 2010. Apparently the Canadian government doesn't recognize the various "triggers" that have set off these disaffected Hillary supporters as valid reasons for refugee status.
Of the 28 who applied, it’s possible none will be approved to relocate to America’s northern neighbor. The CBC found only two successful claims for asylum out of hundreds of cases filed from the U.S. since 2010. There was no successful claim out of the 170 filed in 2015.
If you aren’t fleeing an unjust war, or fleeing actual threat of death, Canada is likely to decline your request. If you’re not applying as a refugee, the Canadian legal immigration process can take about a decade to navigate.
While most celebrities who threatened to leave the U.S. have since said they were "just joking," CBC News couldn't officially confirm whether any of the 28 applications filed in November came from disaffected Hollywood snowflakes. When asked about the applications, Nicholas Dorion, a spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency, simply said that "refugee claims are protected under the Privacy Act" which prohibits the disclosure of any details of applicants.
Meanwhile, applicants have a sympathizer in Jamie Liew, a University of Ottawa professor and immigration lawyer, who told CBC News that it's not surprising that so many disaffected Hillary snowflakes were triggered by the election given the "concerning language, including hate; exclusion; deportation" that surfaced during the campaigning cycle.
"I don't think it's surprising at all," she said.
"The rhetoric coming from the (U.S. political) discussion... was filled with a lot of concerning language, including hate; exclusion; deportation... I could see why people would be concerned for their own safety, their own lives, and evaluate whether they could live (there)."
Liew has been involved in a handful of American refugee claims over the years. Such cases can involve victims of domestic violence, or soldiers escaping wars like in Iraq and Afghanistan. She recalled one case related to death threats against a same-sex couple.
"It really doesn't matter what country a refugee comes from. That is not the central issue in determining if someone is a refugee," Liew said.
"A country could be democratic. A country could be espousing ... human rights. What really matters is how people are being treated on the ground, and protected by the state that they're in."
That said, Americans don't have much success when claiming refugee status in Canada: "Obviously if you're coming from a war-torn state that is obviously an easier case to be made. But that does not make it impossible for someone from the United States to make a claim for refugee protection."
Only a minuscule share of American refugee claimants get approved in Canada.
While we wish these 28 applicants the best of luck in their process, we remain immensely disappointed that Lena Dunham has decided to stay in the U.S. and would like to remind her one last time that travel arrangements are still set to the extent she wants to follow through on her pledge to move to Vancouver.
I have a Gulfstream V waiting for you to leave the US. I assume you eat for the equivalent of 5. A chef will be on board. @lenadunham— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) November 11, 2016