OTTAWA—A delay in the revised version of U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban has bought Canadian officials time to figure out who in Canada could be affected by new executive order unveiled March 6.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the Canadian government will review the travel ban to fully understand what’s at stake, but for the moment it appears Canadian citizens or permanent residents will be treated as they always have been.
“Obviously, this is a detailed matter with some careful nuances and we’re going to be looking at all of the details so that we can provide Canadians with complete information about everything they need to know,” he said.
The revised travel order leaves Iraq off the list of banned countries, but still affects would-be visitors and immigrants to the U.S. from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya who currently do not hold a valid U.S. visa. It also suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel will be allowed entry. The revised order comes into effect on March 16.
Canadian officials were left scrambling in January by Trump’s original executive order, which came down late on a Friday afternoon and immediately threw global travel into chaos as border, airline, customs and other officials were unsure about how and to whom it exactly applied.
Among other things, many Canadian permanent residents who were holders of Nexus cards that are supposed to speed entry into the U.S. found themselves turned away, while some American visa holders in Canada feared being unable to return home.
The federal immigration minister implemented a temporary public policy to assist those who could have been stranded. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said that since the policy came into effect on Jan. 31, it has received one request from someone looking to extend their in stay in Canada.
Also since January, hundreds of people have come to Canada from the U.S. to seek asylum since the original travel ban was implemented, a phenomenon now under careful scrutiny by Goodale and other federal departments.
The federal cabinet will discuss the issue March 7 and cabinet ministers will also have the chance to talk with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on those issues when he comes to Ottawa later this week for a meeting.
“We need to make sure we are sharing information and operating on the same fact base on both sides of the border,” Goodale said.
The original order sparked protests around the country and was ultimately blocked by U.S. federal courts, but some civil liberties associations said Monday the new one still doesn’t pass muster as the ban is in place for predominantly Muslim countries and as such, constitutes discrimination on the basis of religion.
Here’s a look at how the new order compares with the previous one:
Old order: Three-month ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including those who had valid visas but were outside the United States when the ban was signed.
New order: Three-month ban on issuing new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries—Iraqi nationals are no longer banned—and exceptions for foreigners from the other six countries: Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. Citizens of those countries with valid visas will be admitted to the U.S.
Old order: Syrian visitors, immigrants and refugees were barred from the United States indefinitely.
New order: Syrians will be treated the same as citizens of the other five countries singled out in the order.
Old order: Four-month halt to refugees entering the United States.
New order: The refugee ban remains in place, though people already approved and on their way to the United States will be allowed in.
Old order: The Jan. 27 order was immediately put into place, causing chaos and panic at airports as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented.
New order: The new order won’t come into effect until March 16. It also revokes the previous edict.