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Canadian Snowbirds Act: What It Means for U.S. Immigration

By: Haig Simitian

· Domestic Policy

Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 3241 titled the Canadian Snowbirds Visa Act, and in the Senate as the Candian Snowbirds Act, this recent piece of visa legislation would target certain individuals from Canada who temporarily stay in the United States. Last year about a ¼ of all U.S. tourists came from Canada, a rather large chunk considering it all came from one country. The Canadian Snowbirds Act would allow residents of Canada who are over age 50 and own or rent a home in the U.S. to visit the U.S. for eight months. That would be up from the six months currently allowed. The new legislation would specifically prohibit such Canadians from either working for an American employer or receiving any form of public assistance such as food stamps or housing vouchers paid for by American taxpayers. This bill marks another step towards the liberalization of American immigration policy on the Northern border and exemplifies the strength of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Canadian governments.

Before the extension for “snowbirds” can become law, the bill must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate by a majority vote, and it has already received bipartisan support for its passage.

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