Schools concerned over U.S. travel ban

Published on April 14, 2017

The Cornwall border crossing (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).

BROCKVILLE, Ontario - The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) Board of Trustees raised concerns for student safety over U.S. President Donald Trump's U.S. travel ban at their meeting on Wednesday, April 12.

The President's Executive Order, if it ever goes into effect, would ban travel from the predominantly Muslim countries of Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for 90 days.

The ban does not affect Canadians or Canadians with dual citizenship, but the school board remains concerned because ultimately, individuals can be rejected or detained at the discretion of American border service agents.

"This raises the possibility of students travelling on school trips being denied entry," reads a press release from the UCDSB. "The school board is prepared to respond to the heightened screening through: sharing of information regarding the Executive Order with students, their parents and guardians; a requirement that students have cancellation insurance for all overnight school trips; ensuring that principals review federal travel advisories before any departure."

The press release goes on to say that if any student traveling on a school trip who is turned back at the American border for a reason out of their control that that will lead to a cancellation of the trip.

The UCDSB states that eight of their schools will be traveling to the U.S. between March and June of this year, with a possible further 15 trips happening next school year.

The trustees requested a staff report to update them on this issue by the end of the school year.

In February Fadwa Alaoui, a Moroccan born Canadian citizen was turned away at a border crossing in Montreal. Alaoui is Muslim and wears a hijab.

Donald Trump's travel ban is currently not in effect as it is bogged down in the American court system. Several U.S. Federal Judges blocked the Executive Order shortly after it was signed on March 6, and the cases appealing those rulings likely will not be heard before May.