I love this picture from the Canadian border

From The Washington Post: Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police help a family from Somalia on Feb. 17, 2017 along the U.S.-Canada border near Hemmingford, Quebec. (The Canadian Press/AP)

From The Washington Post: Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police help a family from Somalia on Feb. 17, 2017 along the U.S.-Canada border near Hemmingford, Quebec. (The Canadian Press/AP)

I hope The Canadian Press (or the AP, which transmitted it) doesn’t mind my showing this photo, but my post would make little sense without it. It goes with this story this morning in The Washington Post:

OTTAWA — As desperate asylum seekers continue to flee the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown by crossing into Canada, concern is growing here over whether the country will be able to cope if the number of migrants keeps growing.

Stories of migrants hauling children and suitcases across frozen fields and snow-covered ditches into Canada have become headline news. The asylum seekers, who are fleeing President Trump’s travel and refugee bans as well as stepped-up arrests of undocumented immigrants, have received warm welcomes. But opposition politicians are criticizing the government of Justin Trudeau for being too harsh or too lax in its approach….

I just love that expression on the Mountie’s face as he lifts that child up from the snow. You go, Dudley Do-Right!

It’s particularly meaningful to me because our church sponsored a Somali Bantu family — a widowed mother and several children — in Columbia a few years back, and my wife played a leadership role in that, sometimes spending practically as much time with them, helping them negotiate American life, as she did at home. Or so it seemed to me, but I’m not complaining. She found the mother a job and helped her get settled in it, tutored one of the kids (using our old copies of The Wall Street Journal to help with his English skills), and all sorts of stuff like that. (My own involvement hardly extended beyond storing donated furniture in our garage before they arrived.)

Eventually, our Bantu family moved to Buffalo, where a lot of others like them had ended up. Also right on the Canadian border, you’ll note — although the picture taken above was far from there.

Of course, as I say, I love the picture. Despite the fact that it saddens me greatly that any of these folks would feel so unwelcome in this country that they would set out on such hazardous (and to them especially, horrendously cold) terrain in search of solace and safety…

59 thoughts on “I love this picture from the Canadian border

      1. Claus

        I don’t understand the tolerance for illegal aliens, do you stand by and watch people shoplift without being outraged? What’s the difference? If Canada wants the illegals, let’s ship them there instead of back home.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “What’s the difference?”

          Shoplifting is stealing. Being an illegal immigrant means you’re somewhere without the proper paperwork. If you can’t tell the difference, nothing I say is likely to remedy the situation. I’ve been around and around with Doug about it in the past…

          1. Claus

            So who pays for the school expenses (including the school building and books), the doctor visits, etc…? Seems to me that we have non-residents using taxpayer funded resources. Stealing is stealing.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              You DO know, don’t you, that most of the burden for supporting schools in South Carolina rests on the sales tax and on commercial property taxes, which everyone who eats or rents a place to stay pays either directly or indirectly?

              It’s homeowners who are getting the services of our public schools without paying their full share, ever since the passage of Act 388 a decade ago…

              1. Claus

                It does now, it was just a handful of years ago when everyone’s property taxes dropped by 50%.

                Who pays for medical expenses, food stamps, and other welfare subsidies that these people use?

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Show me some figures that demonstrate that these people, who come here to work their butts off at hard jobs and have to live in the shadows, are receiving those things?

                  This is an important point, because SO much of the resentment of these people’s presence is based in this belief that they come here and immediately become welfare recipients — something I’ve seen no indication of…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          By the way, those Somalis were almost certainly in THIS country legally. Our family certainly was, and if these are Bantu they probably came in through the same program, or a similar one.

          The tragedy is that after they worked for years to build new lives here, they’ve now been made to feel unwelcome, what with being Muslim and all…

          1. Claus

            If they’re legal citizens, why are they running? If they’re confused and afraid, shouldn’t they be talking to their support people (church, family such as yours, etc…) rather than take off cross country in the middle of the winter?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I would need to know more about their particular situations to understand why they’d try to cross the border.

              Given that we’ve seen quite a few people with legal status have troubles before Trump’s executive order was held up by courts, together with this week’s reports of Trump looking to deport “millions,” I can see why people who SHOULD have nothing to worry about, but don’t have a sophisticated understanding of the situation, getting panicky.

              But I just don’t know enough based on what I’ve read.

              I do know that I prefer being a country people strive to get into to being one people take risks to get out of.

              1. Claus

                Apparently you know enough to put blame on Trump for them running to Canada.

                My family (on my father’s side) has been in this country since the 1880’s… I’m starting to feel a little uneasy. I’d hate to get forced back to Norway… tall, blonde, blue-eyed women and all the pickled fish you can eat.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  So you’re one of those recent arrivals, huh? Come over here to take our jobs and such…

                  Kidding aside, unless you just call all Europeans immigrants (to which I would say, yeah, so are the Indians, just way farther back), I should be one of the biggest nativists around. The most recent arrivals I’ve found in researching my tree got here in the 1730s.

                  There’s a slim chance I still might find some more recent arrivals: I have one great-great grandfather who is sort of a dead end. He died at the siege of Petersburg in 1864 when his daughter — my great-grandmother — was a baby. She never knew him, so she never passed on anything about him, I guess. I know nothing about his parents or where they came from at all. And I don’t know anything about his wife’s parents, either, beyond their names.

                  But most of the other branches were here at least to the 18th century, and quite a few in the 1600s.

                  So anyway: Welcome, newcomer… 🙂

  1. bud

    This sad example shows that real harm is being done by the Trump administration. Another tangible example was discussed on Keven Cohen’s radio show the other day. Apparently there is a hiring freeze at the VA which is exacerbating the doctor shortage. In the meantime more border patrol agents are being hired. So we keep hard working vegetable pickers out so we can prevent our veterans from getting timely medical care. What a dastardly trade-off.

    1. Claus

      Just Trump cleaning up Obama’s mess that he left.

      Most migrant workers I’ve been around were here on work visas. They’d migrate between the South and the North and have to return back to Mexico for two weeks. Rinse and repeat. I don’t think they affect veterans from going to the VA.

      1. Claus

        Actually thinking about it I don’t think it’s even two weeks. I know a Nigerian who returned home and never left the airport. He got off one plane, and literally got on another one on return flight.

    2. Doug Ross

      “. Apparently there is a hiring freeze at the VA which is exacerbating the doctor shortage. ”

      Oh, yeah. The VA was running like a well oiled machine while Obama was in charge for eight years. No wait times, no uncovered treatments. I know, I know, it was the Republicans’s fault..

      1. bud

        Doug, rather than merely lashing out in this predictable rant that supposedly demonstrates how everything government is automatically bad just re-read what I wrote. I’m tacitly acknowledging there is a problem with the VA. That’s the “exacerbates” reference. Yes the VA has problems and has for many years. And yes congress does share much of the blame. But my point is pretty simple, if you have a doctor shortage that’s causing wait times you don’t fix it with a hiring freeze. Sure in some libertarian, alternative universe maybe the math works out but in the real world this is only going to make the situation worse.

        1. Doug Ross

          The wait time issue isn’t about doctors. It’s about incompetent bureaucrats who administer the system. Obama did nothing on this issue in eight years. Zip… It’s the equivalent of Bush’s FEMA disaster.

          The best solution would be to fold the VA and Medicaid into Medicare — why should the government run three different health systems? Then veterans could go anywhere, anytime for help. But that would be logical and cut government jobs… so it can’t happen. Efficiency is never a consideration.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, according to my Dad, who occasionally has need to go to the VA, there IS a doctor shortage. He just mentioned it to me the other day, saying he was surprised he hadn’t seen more coverage of the problem…

            1. Doug Ross

              I’m fine with single payer. But it can’t happen overnight. Start with Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans… Drop the Medicare age to 60, and increase the Medicare tax by a percent.. and then cut military spending to cover any shortfalls. Then increase the tax and lower the Medicare age every couple years. Might take 20 years but then it would be done.

              But that’s how a non government person thinks.

              1. Doug Ross

                And if we do that, liberals will face to agree to not fund abortions. Let private foundations handle that. Is that too much to give up for single payer?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    And see, if you do that under single payer, you don’t have the problem of forcing private entities to provide something they don’t believe in, as the Obama administration was trying to do.

                    One more benefit of single-payer, among many…

              2. Richard

                But who pays for this? You’d have to guy the military to fund it each year. Then we’d be… well, Canada. Single payer, who pays for those who can’t/won’t pay for their portion of the program?

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  We all do, just as we all do now — only now we do it less efficiently and more expensively — when people who can’t afford care go to the emergency room for routine medical needs.

                  One way or the other, you pay — which is something it is SO hard to explain to people who are motivated by a deep resentment of someone, somewhere getting something they don’t “deserve.”

                  If you think of society as an interconnected whole instead of as isolated individuals scrambling for advantage in a Hobbesian mess the way libertarians do, things become clearer…

                2. Doug Ross

                  “One way or the other, you pay — which is something it is SO hard to explain to people who are motivated by a deep resentment of someone, somewhere getting something they don’t “deserve.””

                  There are levels to this… and you know that. A person who goes from cradle to grave on government assistance without ever making an effort to change his circumstances is different from someone with a temporary setback.

                  It’s why we expect our neighbors to mow their own lawns if they are able to. We’re all in this together only if we ALL are in this together.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    No, actually, we’re all in this together regardless. Doesn’t matter if we’re conscientious participants or layabouts, we’re all here and we all affect each other. This is something that cannot be wished away. Have whatever philosophy you like, it doesn’t change the reality…

                3. Claus

                  “One way or the other, you pay”

                  But what about the ones who don’t? Believe it or not there are people out there who have not earned one dime in their lifetime.

                4. Claus

                  “we’re all here and we all affect each other.”

                  Yeah some affect us negatively, what we need to do is reduce the number of those people.

                5. Doug Ross

                  So you don’t ever assess people on their abilities and effort? We already have a system that fully supports people who choose to be lazy. We are stuck with it. It’s never going to zero support or 100% support. The line will move in different directions within the average sentiment of the country.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Bud and Doug have done some fine negotiating here today. Excellent progress toward rational policy. Can we fire Congress and just let these guys handle it?

  2. bud

    Only indirectly related to this story both relate to the paranoia of POTUS – Trump is now suggesting an increase in our nuclear arsenal! Surely we can all agree that this is a bad idea on a number of levels.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Everybody be sure to look at the cartoon Richard links to. It’s important to understand that there is a significant portion of our population that actually looks this way upon human beings who want to get their children away before Assad murders them…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I long ago got weary of people, particularly on the left, accusing people who dare to disagree with them of “hating.” You know, like if you oppose killing children in the womb, you “hate women.”

          But this — this mocking of people seeking refuge from the horrors in their land — this is hateful…

          1. Doug Ross

            And I have long grown weary of hearing people address these issues as if they are only about children. How about we just let in the children and parents and ban the rest? Acceptable compromise?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I see no reason to agree to such a compromise. Refugees are refugees. I wouldn’t send anyone back to die because he or she is of the wrong age.

              And if you’re a parent, and a grandparent the way I am, it does get to be about the children. At least it works that way for me, if not for you.

              And I’m sorry that bothers you…

        2. Bill

          Yes, we have to call this what it is: the nakedly ugly face of nativism. It has absolutely nothing to do with love of country. It is instead the love of fear, the love of hate.

            1. Doug Ross

              Isn’t this an indictment of the morons who work at the TSA? This stuff happened before Trump all the time. People are detained every day (all races, all ages) for any number of stupid reasons. I go through TSA twice a week and it’s incredible how inept and overstaffed they are. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been patted down after going through the supposedly advanced screening machines that flagged an issue with my sleeve or my stomach. And yet when the Inspector General has done random testing to get banned items through, TSA has failed to identify them most of the time.

              They are a bunch of mindless drones following rules and regulations.

              But if you want to think that Donald Trump is the cause, go ahead. You’re already looking for validation.

              1. Mark Stewart

                Wrong agency, Doug. Plus, you are talking about being delayed a minute or two and the security scanners. Not 2 hours of an American citizen being pestered about his religion. The gulf between these two is enormous, is it not?

                1. Doug Ross

                  I’m not just talking about me. Long delays and interrogations were occurring before Trump. Are you suggesting that these types of situations didn’t occur during the Obama administration?

                  Here’s one from last summer — the biggest movie star in India:


                  This is nothing new. It’s been this way since 9/11. But now the Trump haters have their radar turned on and look for any opportunity to tie anything back to him. Show me data that says it is happening significantly more today than it was a year ago.

                2. Doug Ross

                  “It’s at least the third time the outspoken international film actor has been detained at a US airport. In 2012 he was stopped at an airport in upstate New York and in 2009 he was detained for two hours at Newark.”

                3. Doug Ross

                  Here’s one from 2014… why did Obama hate Muslims so much?

                  “Basim Usmani, who in addition to being a second-generation Muslim immigrant is also a member of Pakistani-American punk band The Kominas, was sick of being detained for upwards of five hours each time he tried to fly back into the U.S. So he wrote a song about it, and premiered it on Boston Public Radio’s Friday show.

                  “The first time I was detained, I was coming back from Toronto around Christmas Eve of 2013,” Usmani said. “I was coming back to Detroit to have Christmas dinner with my family.” Instead, Usmani said he spent his holiday with Homeland Security. “

                4. Claus

                  Mark, have you ever gone through a TSA line? I do regularly and I have yet to see or hear of them actually catching anything. I’ve witnessed them pat down toddlers and old lady’s in wheelchairs. I’ve seen guys who match every profile character on the terrorist list walk through without a second look. I’ve seen people refuse to take off certain items (jackets, belts, shoes) and TSA agents just let them pass through. Probably the most useless agency in the country.

                5. Mark Stewart

                  I’ve never flown, Claus. Well, not since last week… Will again tomorrow.

                  I have my bags in order and I sail through the Precheck line. I expect the same tomorrow.

                  Of course the TSA is wasteful, nearly useless and dumbed down. But it has worked better than the private sector solution which had been in place. I do miss no longer being able to shuffle my steel-shanked dress shoes under the metal detector. Now I need a pair of shoes for work, and one to wear flying. That’s the extent of my inconvenience.

                6. Mark Stewart

                  No Doug, it still is a problem. But it’s a Constitutional issue for citizens and permanent residents.

              2. Otter

                “Isn’t this an indictment of the morons who work at the TSA?”

                And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg: isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Sounds OK to me. Maybe I can just get my coffee without being asked whether I want some cake, or to join “Starbucks Gold” or whatever.

      I’m not worried about the language barrier. I’ll just point to the urn containing the “bold”…

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