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How many Americans are actually coming across the border to spend time in B.C.?

Last Updated Jul 3, 2020 at 12:34 pm PDT

FILE -- The Canadian and American flags are seen on top of the Peace Arch is at the Canada/USA border in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan
Summary

An immigration lawyer doubts whether there are many Americans crossing into Canada on a loophole,to vacation in B.C.

Concerns have been growing about Americans saying they're going to Alaska, but then staying in B.C. after crossing

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Question:

Are Americans actually crossing the border into B.C. to vacation?

Answer:

Recent reports suggest there are growing concerns Americans are crossing the border to spend time in B.C., while telling border agents they are just passing through the province on the way to Alaska.

However, an immigration expert tells NEWS 1130 he doubts this is actually happening on any significant scale.

Immigration lawyer Alex Stojicevic says the numbers he’s been seeing don’t really back up claims this is happening often.

“You have a 90 per cent plus drop in same-day border crossings compared to this time last year,” he said, adding it’s not exactly a cakewalk if an American were to try to come through by land.

“It’s not like the border officials have an enormous amount of other things to do, right? Most of their regular workload is gone, so I can’t imagine that they’re not taking care with every single case. Maybe there’s a handful of people in there, but I struggle to see how this is, you know, big enough to warrant concern.”

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Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has also downplayed concerns, adding the people behind the wheel of a car with U.S. plates may actually be a Canadian.

“We have seen individual reports of people who are using that Alaska loophole, if you will, but I understand, as well, that they are very small in number,” she said.

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan addressed the issue Thursday, telling reporters he is aware of and is concerned about Americans stopping at hotels in Vancouver and even on Vancouver Island while supposedly driving up to Alaska.

“If you’re heading to Alaska, you don’t go through Port Renfrew,” he said. “So we’re concerned about this phenomenon and we’re hearing about in communities right across the province.”

He’s brought up his concern with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland with the hopes she’ll reach out to her U.S. counterparts.

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