The following excerpt is from History Professor Laura Madokoro‘s article in the Conversation, “The U.S. is playing border politics again – this time with Canada.” The full article is available online.

Concern is reportedly growing among some American legislators about migrants crossing into the United States from Canada.

One recent headline intoned: “U.S. Republicans are now warning: Migration from Canada is a problem” as some lawmakers have likened the apparent trend to “being assaulted.”

Since Republican governors started to send migrants arriving in their states to Democrat jurisdictions in the summer of 2022, the question of border control has been a major subject of public policy discussions in the United States.

In Canada, this topic gained traction when it was revealed that some American public officials have been facilitating the movement of people to the Canadian border, particularly to the unofficial crossing at Roxham Road in Québec.

Public opinion polls, and heated rhetoric, are politicizing an issue that shouldn’t be political at all.

Since the rapid growth in the number of borders in the 19th century and the securitization and militarization of those borders in recent years, they’ve become a focal point in conversations about power and sovereignty. But they aren’t the real issue.

Borders simply offer an opportunity to score political points. In this case, it’s at the expense of migrants who have the right, under international law, to seek refuge.