Canadian lawyers to aid those trapped in US travel ban


Lawyers fanned out at major Canadian airports Friday to help travelers who could be ensnared in U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

At the same time, the federal government is investigating whether the ban on specific travelers from six mainly Muslim countries can be legally enforced on Canadian territory.

The new ban is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court temporary ruling., First implemented in January, it was rejected twice by lower courts as judges continue to decide whether it is constitutional. The Court allowed cetain parts of the to take effect for 90 days while the debate on legality is in progress.

Critics once again say Muslims are the targets of the ban.

"This is a ban on Muslims," said Corey Shefman, spokesman for the Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition. "It's discriminatory to its core."

Hundreds of lawyers joined the coalition the first time the ban was instituted and they will fan out at airports in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg with more stationed at Montreal and Ottawa later, if required.

The ban prevents citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, as well as refugees, from entering the United States but does not prevent those with certain close family members already in the country from entering the U.S.

The fear is that American customs officers may overstep their authority and ban people who are not supposed to be stopped from traveling to the U.S.

"Part of the reason we're there is to make sure Muslim travelers, whether or not they're from the affected countries, are not caught up in this ban," Shefman said.

The first time it was rushed into effect and created chaos at airports globally.

"No one knew what the heck was going on," Shefman said. "This was a common theme last time and we expect that it will be again."

At Canadian airports, travelers are processed in preclearance areas, meaning U.S. customs officers are working in Canadian territory.

Some critics contend the ban, whether full or partial, is discriminatory and therefore violates the Canadian Charter of Rights.

The federal government is studying the situation in an attempt to verify if that legal stance is correct.

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