I spoke with a friend who moved to Wisconsin on a TN visa during the summer. He said you can't do most things without a social insurance number and legal status. Strangely they want to make a fuss on ID for voting but not for getting a cell phone plan. He said no way you could work professionally if you are undocumented. Maybe day labour or farm work for cash. If you have online income it could also work. Interested to hear more from Americans on how this could work though. How could someone get by without citizenship or greencard?
I had a friend who did something like that when he was 20, just because he was tired of the cold. Moved down to FL during winter, had some contacts from a friend here who's dad had an appliance business, and went down there and worked for like $50 a day moving/installing fridges and stoves.
Honestly he said he felt like he really didn't belong anywhere and if he were forced to live like that it would be an almost impossible existance. He couldn't make use of all the things in the regular gov't/economy because he was just an a tourist visa. But likewise he was also largely excluded from the underground economy, because that was conducted in Spanish, and relies extremely heavily on word-of-mouth and who-you-know transfer of information. Additionally, not being a latin immigrant, he was viewed with a certain air of suspicion.
I almost find this whole thread a little bit comical. Yes it's extremely bad in Canada and many other places, but to think that there is such a night and day difference between it and the US (or Georgia, or Serbia or where ever) that it warrants giving up all legal status, your right to work, rent an apartment, get a driver's license, and in the more foreign cases where language is an issue, even communicate or form any kind of community relationships is asinine. You can roll the dice where you are hoping it gets better while enjoying the ability to work, communicate, and not worry about being hauled off to immigration jail merely for being there, or you can sacrifice all that, on a similar gamble in a place that may end up just being a month behind the curve en-route to an even worse place.