The Five Conditions
by Larry Gasper
“Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas.” : Donald Trump in a speech recommending “extreme vetting” for immigrants.
Year Three of the Great American Exodus
Pearson Airport, Toronto, Canada
T. looked around the small interview room the Immigration guards put him in and swore. Vetting? What did he need to be vetted for? Didn’t they know who he was and how much money he had? Canada needed people like him. There should be a welcoming committee, not some loser agent asking him a bunch of stupid questions.
At least he was ready for it.
He turned when the door opened.
“Have a chair,” the agent said. He was short and sharp featured, with deep lines on his face. He carried a tablet and the questionnaire T. filled in when he landed.
“I’ll stand.” T. liked negotiating from a position of strength and looking down on this runt would work. Stupid civil servant probably didn’t get it.
“That wasn’t a request.” The agent pointed at the chair. “Sit or I’ll end this right now and you can get back on your plane and go back to the States.” T. held out for several seconds, but the agent seemed unimpressed. Finally, T. sat down.
“Okay,” the agent said, “I’ve looked over your answers and did some Net searches to see if the answers match up. I’m required to go through each question so you know where you stand.”
“Fine, fine. Let’s get this over with.” He couldn’t be serious, thought T. Why waste time? There was always room for someone like him and all you had to do was look at him to know any country would love to have him.
“First, my name is Agent Ramos. I will be adjudicating your case. I’m it for the vetting process. You will get a copy of my report and you can appeal my decision, but you must return to the States while you do so. Do you understand?”
“I want a lawyer and a different agent.” T. bet the shrimp wouldn’t like that.
“This isn’t a court and you don’t have that right. Now you can accept my ruling or get back on your plane. I’ve got dozens of other files to complete today and I’m not going to waste any more time with you.”
T. fumed. Lawyers had always worked for him in the past, but it was time to see if he could make a deal.
“Fine. Let’s do it.”
“All right, you answered that you accepted all five conditions. So, we’ll start with accepting no death penalty. I couldn’t find enough on the Web to disprove your answer so I affirm that one.”
T. expected that. He’d said less about that than the others. And between the mess the Chinese and Russians had made of the Net in the E-War, and the hackers T. had hired to cover his tracks, he figured he was safe.
“Now, accepting gay rights and marriage is more problematic. I found some old references on-line that supported your answer, but nothing newer. Strange isn’t that?”
“Not really.” T. smiled at the agent. This was his deal to lose and he had no intention of losing. “The Chinese really did a number on the Web. Can’t trust anything there anymore.”
Agent Ramos looked at T. through narrowed eyes. T. knew he had the whip hand. Ramos needed actual proof to deny him. Didn’t matter what he remembered. If he didn’t have something on-line or in video to back it, he had to give T. the benefit of the doubt. And T.’s membership in the Republican party wasn’t enough, though T. knew it would be for some Canadians.
“You get a pass on that due to a lack of evidence against it. Now you also have down that you accept stringent gun control if you move to Canada. That seems problematic. I was able to find support for gun control from decades ago, but I also found the position you took when you were running for office totally contradictory to that and against gun control.”
“A couple of things, Agent Ramos. Like you said, I was running for office. When you do that you support the position of the party you’re running for even if you don’t totally agree with it. Also, I was supporting American law. I’m a law and order guy. If the law in Canada is different then I’ll support it. I believe in the law, Agent, everyone’s law.”
T. had a hard time not smiling. That was the same kind of crap he sold the rubes in the election and it looked like this sap was buying it even if he didn’t like it.
“I’m marking that for future research,” Ramos said. “That doesn’t stop you from entering Canada, but can work against you in the future.”
Which was fine with T.. He could have lawyers in those hearings and tie things up in court until he died. Maybe pop an anchor baby or two with his latest trophy wife to really screw the Canadians up.
“The fourth condition is accepting a woman’s right to choose. Again, you stated you agreed with that and were a supporter of abortion rights.” Despite himself, T. started to sweat. Sure his hackers had been good, but this guy had to know what he said. And he probably hated T. Probably a liberal too.
“That’s me,” T. said. “Huge supporter of women’s rights. Huge.”
“Uh-huh.” Ramos looked at his tablet, scrolling through it. “Did you support Planned Parenthood?”
“Huge supporter. Gave them six figure donations all the time.” Let him try to prove that one way or another.
“We take this condition very seriously in Canada. We can’t have millions of Americans changing our country to suit themselves. That’s the point of the five conditions, to make sure those that would change Canada to the fifty-first state stay south of the border. Do you understand that?”
“Of course. Big supporter of Canada. Love it. Built hotels here I loved it so much. My kind of country.”
“Uh-huh.” Ramos looked at his tablet for several long seconds. T. slid to the edge of his seat. Finally Ramos spoke.
“I’m marking this one for further research too. Again, this won’t deny you entry, but could cause you future trouble.”
By which time T. would be ensconced in the penthouse of his tower downtown behind a wall of lawyers. He could live with that. He just had to get past this officious little prick.
“Now the last condition is in many ways the most important. Its purpose is to deny entry to supporters of hatred and bigotry.” Ramos smiled, but it wasn’t a pleasant smile. “I prefer to think of it as the ‘no racist pricks allowed’ condition. So, tell me, are you a racist prick?”
“No. Look, I don’t have to take this.” T. started to stand.
“Sit down.” Ramos’ voice snapped.
T. sat, glaring at Ramos. The small man didn’t look away and T. realized he’d underestimated him.
And realized that Ramos had been toying with him the whole time.
“The condition says that you officially recognize Canada as a multi-cultural country and accept that all races and religions are deserving of respect and acceptance. You wrote that you agreed, that you’d hired all races and religions, and treated them equally.” Ramos looked at his tablet and smiled. “Did you really think that everything you said could be scrubbed from the Web? There just aren’t enough hackers in the world and there wasn’t that much damage done in the war.”
“What did I say? Prove I don’t respect everyone. You can’t because I never said it.”
Ramos frowned at T. “Seriously?” He opened a file and turned the tablet toward T. T. recognized his campaign launch.
“Rapists and murderers?” Ramos opened another file. Another event. “You attacked Muslims in this one. I’ve got a dozen of them and it only took me five minutes. No, you’ve proven yourself unfit for entry into Canada. You don’t embody Canadian values and that’s what we’re looking for.” Ramos was smiling now.
T. froze. This couldn’t be happening. All he’d had to do was get past this loser and this stupid vetting and he was set. Maybe he could still save it though.
“Do you know what it’s like to be rich in the States now? The mob is hunting us like animals. Every loser with a gun is blaming us for the E-War, the Depression and all the other crap in their lives.”
“My heart bleeds for you. Hire private security. If you pay enough, you might even find someone you can trust to take a bullet for you. But I wouldn’t count on it.”
Ramos stood. “In case you haven’t guessed, the vetting is over and I’m rejecting your claim. You are exactly what Canada doesn’t need. The guards will be back to escort you to your plane in a few minutes. They’ll have a copy of my report with them. You’re expected to be gone as soon as possible.”
“That’s your right. Do it from the States, though.” Ramos opened the door and stepped into it. “Oh, and good luck with that. Everyone appeals. There are over a hundred thousand in the queue ahead of you. They should get to you in twenty years or so. Do try to stay ahead of the mob.” Ramos stepped out and closed the door behind him.
T. sat with his face in his hands until the guards arrived.