Last weekend I attended the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, one of this continent’s biggest geek-culture conventions and a bustling hub of North American commerce. Canadians and Americans mingled side by side selling books, T-shirts, toys, crafts, and other assorted nerd paraphernalia in a milieu resembling a bazaar on some colorful Star Wars planet.
Unfortunately, since the show took place in Canada, many — maybe even most — of the American vendors were there illegally. Not to pass judgment, of course — a few weeks prior I had attended the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, and that thing was swarming with illegally present Canadians.
In practice, an American or a Canadian who wishes to cross the border for the purpose of engaging in some casual capitalism at a foreign market — say, a band performing at a bar, a magician making balloon animals at a county fair, or a guy looking to hawk old records at a flea market — will often simply lie (explicitly or through omission) his way across the line, faking vacation plans and praying that his car or suitcases go unsearched.