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JFK Protest | © LuminaryTraveller/Flickr
JFK Protest | © LuminaryTraveller/Flickr

Trump's Travel Ban and What it Means for US Bound Travelers

Picture of Nikki Vargas
Travel Editor
Updated: 30 January 2017
Chaos ensued over the weekend as people took to the streets to protest Trump’s recent travel ban targeting immigrants from seven Muslim countries. With the flick of his pen, Trump’s executive order shocked the world and flipped the travel industry on its head. Here’s everything travelers need to know and can expect from Trump’s latest policy.


What is Trump’s travel ban?

Delivering on his campaign promise, Donald Trump signed an executive order banning US entry for Muslim immigrants from seven nations. The travel ban – which has since been dubbed the ‘Muslim Ban’ – was drawn up in an effort to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States,” according to the official order.

The travel ban caught many by surprise, including Homeland Security and the Justice Department, who were not properly briefed by the Trump team on how to implement the unprecedented policy. What ensued was utter chaos as people – already en route to the United States from the now blacklisted countries – were detained upon arrival and face deportation. Many of the affected passengers had green cards and valid visas, yet were still ensnared by Trump’s order, resulting in lawyers rushing to airports to aid in the filing of lawsuits.

JFK Protestor | © LuminaryTraveller/Flickr

JFK Protestor | © LuminaryTraveller/Flickr

What was the response to the ban?

Public outcry rang out around the world as protestors gathered at airports chanting “Let them In” for the detained passengers being refused entry. On Saturday night, federal judges from coast to coast challenged Trump’s order – deeming the president’s ruling unconstitutional. According to CNN Politics, “A federal judge in New York granted an emergency stay for citizens of the countries included in the ban and rules they can’t be removed from the United States. A federal court in Washington issued a stay stopping travelers being detained there from being sent back to their home country. Federal judges in Boston ruled officials can’t detain a person on the basis of Trump’s executive order.”

The underlying question now is whether Trump’s travel ban is legal. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is challenging Trump’s order in court – deeming it unlawful and in violation of international treaties. “The ACLU with other organizations immediately sprang into action and challenged Trump’s executive order in court as violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution,” wrote the ACLU in a press statement. “We immediately got a hearing and argued our case. At around 9 p.m., Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay, blocking President Trump’s discriminatory policy from taking effect and preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported.”


Who is affected by the ban?

The people currently affected by Trump’s travel ban are those from the seven blacklisted countries of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, travelers from these countries should expect to be denied entry upon arrival in the United States or even denied boarding on US bound flights (with the exception of diplomats).

Graphic © Culture Trip | Source: CNN/Google Maps.

Graphic © Culture Trip | Source: CNN/Google Maps.

How does it affect Green card holders and/or Dual Nationals from the blacklisted countries?

Part of the confusion surrounding Trump’s travel ban is how it will affect the legal Green card holders from banned countries. As of now, they will be allowed to fly to the United States but will be subject to an interview and fingerprints upon landing to assess security risks.

For Dual Nationals – people with dual citizenship between one of the blacklisted nations and a second country – there is also confusion around how Trump’s travel ban will affect them. As of now, British dual citizens are permitted entry so long as they are not traveling directly from one of the affected countries. It is not yet detailed how the ban will impact dual citizens of other countries.

What should you do if you’re from one of the affected countries and have an upcoming trip to the US planned?

While the consequences of Trump’s travel ban are sorted, unfortunately many US bound travelers are caught in the cross hairs. Refugees who were thoroughly vetted are now denied entry, families are split up, students are unable to fly back and professionals are being detained. As of now, if you are from one of the seven aforementioned countries you will unlikely be able to board a flight to the United States.

If you are affected by Trump’s travel ban, your options include getting in touch with the ACLU  and asking your airline for options and/or a refund on upcoming travel (note: traveler’s insurance likely will not cover cancelled trips due to the travel ban). You may also donate to the ACLU in their fight to protect the rights of immigrants and refugees.