Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.07.05
Stanstead, Quebec


I'm Ross Murray and I approve this immigration column

An open letter to would-be illegal U.S. immigrants (and smugglers thereof)

Dear world travelers:

First of all, thank you for choosing Stanstead, Quebec, for all your border-hopping needs. Specifically, thank you (most of you, anyway) for choosing the woods around Stanstead to smuggle yourselves and/or your paying customers into the United States. This is as opposed to simply walking across one of the unguarded streets that connect Stanstead with Vermont.

The way the authorities describe it, you'd think that you can't cross those unguarded streets without being struck by an oncoming Costa Rican. It's so bad, they say, that our governments should erect some kind of barrier to stop this illegal tide.

Now it turns out that it's the woods around Stanstead that are the go-to point for unofficial entry. Last week, police broke up two organizations that have smuggled hundreds of undocumented visitors into the U.S. via the woods that run for miles along the border outside town. So good luck with those street barriers, fellas!

When law enforcement officials talk about you illegal immigrants, the implication, of course, is that you're all a bunch job-stealing, bomb-carrying, baby-swiping, gibberish-spouting threats to life, liberty, and lawn care specialists. Fear, after all, helps pay their salaries.

The fact is most of you are simply desperate people who've left home in search of a better life.

Which brings me to the point of this letter: Why not stick around?

Stanstead could certainly use the boost in population. Ours has been in decline for years, what with the aging population and people leaving home in search of a better life. In fact, a report out this week found that a staggering number of Quebecers, especially Anglophones, are planning to leave the province. So you should be able to find some cheap rents.

We don't really care what language you speak. Some of us around here speak English, some speak French, some we really have no idea. If you can smile and wave at passing cars, you're in!

And our town is small enough that we'd all get to know you personally. Well, maybe not personally, but we would recognize you as "the Ecuadorian dude" or "that Korean family."

People shouldn't give you a hard time about taking their jobs since there aren't that many jobs in the first place. And don't worry about being out of work. We've got people around here who haven't worked in years, so we're used to it.

I'm only speaking for myself, of course, but I think we'd be happy to have you.

Which I can't say if you global gadabouts insist on smuggling yourselves into the States. You really aren't welcome at all. They not only don't want you, they plain don't like you. Why? Because the country's economy's in the dumper and the Right needs a fall-guy. Guess who? Oh, it's not pretty.

Speaking of not pretty, what do you know about Tom Tancredo? He's a congressman running for the Republican presidential ticket, the guy with the campaign ads declaring that "aliens have invaded our land." Like little green men. Or maybe little green-card men.

Tancredo also equates immigrants with potential domestic terrorist attacks and, possibly worse, the danger of the U.S. becoming a "bilingual nation." Imagine the unspeakable horrors, the sheer chaos of being... I - I can't even write the word again; let's just call it the B-word.

So you don't want to go there. Need more convincing? Let's try some Tancredo-esque persuasion. Cue the ponderous voice-over!

"Right now, millions of Americans are casting dirty looks at immigrants.

"Right now, Americans who've eaten a steady diet of saturated fat are keeling over and landing right on top of immigrants.

"Right now, an American somewhere is asking an immigrant to 'say something in Mexican.'

"Is this the illegal home you want for your children?"

So stay out of those woods, you barrier-flouting vagabonds. Crawl out of the back of that van and into our sunny Stanstead arms. What do you say? Instead of making Canada your conduit country, why not make it your Can-Do-It country?

Happy trails,