Canadian permanent residents who are citizens of countries affected by Donald Trump’s travel ban will be able to travel as normal, it has been confirmed.
Trump signed the executive order, barring anyone with citizenship of seven Muslim-majority countries from the US for 90 days.
Those countries are Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq.
At a press conference on Sunday, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said officials had spoken to White House officials around the clock to figure out what was going on.
Hussen said they had reassurances from the White House that permanent residents of Canada with passports from countries included in the ban could travel as usual.
As well, said Hussen, Canadian dual nationals, with citizenship from both Canada and a country included in the ban, would also be able to travel as usual.
Hussen said there are 35,000 Canadians who hold dual citizenship in one of the banned countries; they are encouraged to travel with their Canadian passport.
However, he said, the ban did apply to anyone from those countries included in the ban who happened to be transiting through Canada.
So, he said, he would be using his authority to provide temporary residency to anyone stranded in Canada as a result of the ban, if they needed it.
He was also aware some passengers had been refused boarding on Canadian flights and they would continue to monitor the situation.
But as of 1 pm Sunday, there were no stranded travellers in any Canadian airports, he said.
Hussen noted that Canada had confirmed with the White House that green card holders were exempt from the travel ban. He expects the US State Department will provide further public clarification at some point.
Trump’s executive order also bans Syrian refugees indefinitely and halts the admission of any refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days.
The president has said that for any Syrians applying for refugee status in the future, the priority would be given to Christians over Muslims.
Meanwhile, Hussen said Canada welcomed anyone fleeing persecution, terror and war.
“Canada is a country of immigrants. Canadians are proud of our long history of acting with compassion and humanity to those seeking refuge for themselves and their families,” said Hussen.
“We’ve always welcomed people in need of protection, and will continue to do so… We believe we have a shared responsibility to those who are displaced, persecuted, and most in need of protection.”
The travel ban has thrown the lives of citizens of the banned countries into chaos and has already seen more than 100 people detained at the border or in US airports.
Trump has also ordered more “extreme vetting” of Muslims travelling to America and argues the ban will make the US safer, and protect people from terrorism.
However, the sweeping ban has been roundly condemned by human rights groups, who have launched legal challenges, suing Donald Trump and the US government.
Speaking to reporters, National Security Adviser Daniel Jean said he got the impression the US government had not foreseen the impact of the ban on Canadians.
“If you want to have a safe world, people have to feel secure, free and ability to move. I don’t think the order by itself makes the world any safer,” said Jean.
“At the same time, the government in their sovereign ways is trying to deal with some specific issues that were part of their platform.”
If you are Canadian and you experience problems getting to the US, you are urged to contact consular assistance at 613-996-8885.
Have you had problems at the US border due to the travel ban? We want to tell your story. Contact us at [email protected] to speak to us.