February 7, 2017 — Several Canadians have had their Nexus cards revoked since Donald Trump impose a controversial travel ban in the U.S.
Although it is unknown whether the revocations are linked to the ban, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has approached the U.S. to find out if the trusted-traveller card is still valid.
Trump caused mayhem when he moved to ban immigration from seven Muslim countries on January 27, 2017. The executive order has since been suspended by a U.S. court, but with the Trump administration desperate to get it reinstated, uncertainty is rampant among travellers and border security officials alike.
Goodale said in Canada’s House of Commons: “Obviously, at a governmental level, we will be working with our American counterparts to make sure that the rules are properly and fairly administered, and that Canadians have the access that they are entitled to with a Canadian passport.
“We want to make sure that Canadians entitled to a Nexus card, which is discretionary on both sides of the border, are in fact treated properly and fairly.”
Quick Facts: Nexus Cards
- Nexus cards give pre-clearance for low-risk travellers at certain crossing points between Canada and the U.S.
- Applicants face a detailed screening process, including an interview with Canadian or U.S. border security officials.
- Card costs $50 for five years, Under-18s are free.
- Membership of 1.49 million majority-Canadian cardholders as of December 2016.
Those who have had their cards revoked do include dual citizens of Canada and one of the seven banned countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. However, Canadian-only passport holders have also been affected.
The individuals were sent a letter stating their cards had been revoked, without further explanation.
The U.S. has not broken any rules in revoking the cards. Under the Nexus agreement, officials can do so at any point as the card is considered a discretionary tool only, meaning it is not a travel document in its own right.
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Those who have their cards revoked can appeal, but the process takes months. Experts have called for direct intervention from Goodale, although with the chaos surrounding U.S. immigration at this point, a quick response is unlikely.
Confusion has been the buzz word ever since Trump signed the order, which is currently suspended pending a series of appeals.
It appeared to come with little guidance on implementation, and significant ambiguity about who it covered and who it did not. At best it can be described as poorly thought out, at worst a panic-inducing disaster.
Both citizens of the seven countries and refugees were already on flights to the U.S. when the order was signed. These people, thought to number in the hundreds, were detained at airports when they arrived. News quickly spread of the detentions, making airports the focal point of protests in the U.S.
Authorities began stopping visa holders and green card holders from boarding flights. Initially, it seemed even permanent residents of the U.S. who happened to be out of the country would not be allowed to return. In the fallout, one of the many clarifications stated that green card holders would be allowed entry, but not visa holders.
Dual passport holders were also banned, but several countries have been made exempt from this since the order was signed. Canada was the first, followed by Britain and Australia.
Canadian permanent residents are also understood to be exempt from the travel ban, although total clarity is difficult to obtain.
All individuals intending to enter the U.S. must also be mindful that border agents have authority to request access to mobile phones and devices for inspection.
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