Americans seeking foreign visas in record numbers: report
Americans are exiting the U.S. or seeking foreign visas at an unprecedented rate, according to a Washington Post report published Tuesday.
Potential emigrants cited political violence, racial conflict and the coronavirus pandemic among their reasons for wanting to leave the country, the Post reported.
According to Canadian immigration attorney Heather Segal, her Toronto office received a huge wave of inquiries after President Trump hesitated to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate in September.
The rising visibility of white supremacy and “militant hate groups” is believed to be a major factor driving up the rate of emigration.
Speaking to the Post, Segal said, “I had call, after call, after call — so many that one day I felt like an immigration attorney in 1939 Germany. People start telling me their stories, saying they feel unsafe, exhausted, like they are almost pleading their case.”
According to the Post, 5,816 Americans gave up their U.S. citizenship in the first half of 2020, significantly more than the 2,072 who did the same in all of 2019.
Though they did not give specific numbers, the embassies of Germany, France and Australia all said they have seen noticeable rises in the number of Americans applying for visas to their countries.
Wade Davis, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia, said that even when compared to the 1960s when anti-war protests, political assassinations and riots were occurring, the current trend is surprising.
“What is happening now has no precedent in American history,” said Davis, who added that Americans have decided that potentially feeling lost and alienated in a foreign country is preferable to the emotional exhaustion they feel in the U.S.
Several families interviewed by the Post said that their decisions were not necessarily contingent on the results of the presidential election. The issues driving them away — school shootings, racism and political volatility — would still be around regardless of who controlled the government, they said.
Meanwhile, many celebrities said they would strongly consider leaving the country if Trump is reelected. Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson and Miley Cyrus have said a second Trump presidency would make them want to leave, though some of these claims may have been meant as humor.
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