A short drive into Buffalo from the Peace Bridge, Pam Bartlett and her friend Terry were eating omelettes and talking Donald Trump the day after the election. Both voted for Hillary Clinton and were nursing the stinging loss.
Bartlett halfheartedly pondered migrating to Canada to get away. "It's basically right there," she said, pointing in a random direction. But after a couple minutes, reality set in and she declared she's staying put—and will tell other disheartened voters to do the same.
"Trump made a gracious speech when he won, about uniting everyone, and I'm going to remain optimistic that he's going to reign it in," she said. She turned to her friend, Terry, and asked her if they should give him a chance. "Mhm," she nodded.
Over the last year, countless Americans have threatened to pack up and move to Canada should Trump win the election. Immigration lawyers across the country say they have been inundatedwith calls from Americans inquiring about how to relocate to Canada. And the night of the election, Canada's immigration ministry website crashed due to a huge spike in traffic coming from the US—12 times the usual traffic rate.
But expressing interest and making the move are two very different things: it's notoriously difficult for US citizens to resettle in Canada, and dozens of them along both sides of the border Wednesday predicted it likely won't happen, and hope it doesn't.
Indeed, all was calm at crossings between Ontario and New York the afternoon after Donald Trump was confirmed the next president, with mostly commercial trucks going in and out.
"People seemed to be worried about Trump winning before," said one Canadian border guard at the Rainbow Bridge entrance. "But I think everyone is starting to accept it now."
On the Canadian side in Niagara Falls, Richard Alloway was basking in the Trump afterglow.
He came over from Pennsylvania with his wife and a couple friends the day after to gamble and to take advantage of the weak Canadian loonie.
"Everything's looking rosy," he cackled at the lookout over the waterfall.
Carlos Orduna, a Clinton supporter, wasn't so sure. The 18-year-old lives in Florida, but drove to Niagara from Albany, New York, just for a couple of hours on Wednesday. Orduna was born in the US, but spent most of his life in Mexico.
"Trump was saying he was going to kick Mexicans out of the United States, and I have a few family members in Florida who don't have a passports," he said.
But even he said he's going to wait it out and give Trump the benefit of the doubt. Neither he nor anyone in his family, even undocumented immigrants, plans to leave.
"Maybe we're going to get racist people discriminating against Hispanic people," said Orduna. "But we have to deal with it. He's already President now. We are going to learn how to live with it."
As for those who are still threatening to leave, Alloway says good riddance.
"We're gonna help them pack," he said. "Like Rosie O'Donnell, and Whoopi Goldberg, and Cher. We'll help them all pack."
Except when it comes down to it, it's all empty threats, he believes. Not many Americans are actually going to leave. "They know where they have it good, and they will see the changes that are coming."
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