The search phrase “how to move out of America” has spiked on Google in the past couple of weeks, as some Americans, fearful of mass shootings and Trump administration policies, are looking for a way out.
As Yahoo News reports, the search phrase has had two peaks in the past few years. The first spike came in November 2016, after Trump was elected, and the second came last week in the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which took place within hours of each other.
For many Americans thinking about leaving, however, it’s not the fear of mass shootings (or it’s not just the fear of mass shootings) that’s driving them to think of leaving. Rather, it’s a general dissatisfaction of what America has become, and might yet become, under the Trump administration.
Janelle Hanchett and her family have already left, taking up residence in the Netherlands. She says that her decision was motivated in part by “the specter of this rising authoritarian regime, and of feeling unsafe all the time.”
Stephanie Schwab of Chicago says that she’s looking at Spain and even has “an escape route through Barcelona,” for similar reasons to Hanchett. She notes the irony in the fact that Spain was, for decades, controlled by fascist ruler Francisco Franco, and now she’s thinking of heading there to escape fascism. “Wouldn’t it be nutty if we had to escape fascism and anti-Semitism by moving to Spain?” she said.
Karen Allendoerfer, similarly, has vague plans of someday moving to Germany to teach English. She, too, recognizes the irony of “moving to Germany to get away from Nazis.”
Traditionally, dissatisfied Americans have looked to Canada as a new home. But Canada’s visa requirements are strict, and the immigration process is long and arduous. Other nations make it considerably easier for dissatisfied Americans to emmigrate.
The Netherlands, for example, has had a policy in place since World War II of offering “freelance visas” to Americans as a way of thanking the U.S. for its role in liberating the country from the Nazis in World War II. Americans can work as freelancers and, after a time, find a full-time job with a Dutch company.
Similarly, Spain, in an effort to right some of the wrongs of the Inquisition, has opened up a path to citizenship to foreigners who can prove they are descendants of Sephardic Jews, who were forced on pain of death to convert to Christianity centuries ago.
It bears noting, however, that disappointed Americans aren’t necessarily leaving in droves just yet. But many have shifted from the “thinking about it” stage to “just in case” by applying for foreign passports, starting the immigration process and stockpiling cash.