It is a reasonable assumption that you are all relatively familiar with the Executive Order which was invoked by Donald Trump on 27th January. This was heavily reported by the media as being a ‘Travel Ban’ but was also branded an “Anti-Muslim Ban”.
In essence, the Order prevented immigration & temporarily barred people from entering the U.S from the following countries:
These 7 countries are predominantly Muslim and this caused worldwide outrage.
Of course, the ban was then blocked and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal in San Francisco have since refused to reinstate it. It is important to note however that this doesn’t necessarily render the ban unconstitutional and undoubtedly there will be more to follow on this point as the legality of the ban is further examined. Those opposed to the ban felt it was repugnant to the 1st amendment of the U.S Constitution which was 1 of 10 amendments to the Bill of Rights on 15th December 1791.
The Immigration & Nationality Act was passed in the U.S in 1965. This set out that one can’t be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the persons race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence“. Given that the 7 aforementioned countries were all predominantly Muslim, this resulted in the ban being dubbed an “Anti-Muslim” ban by critics and that it was a violation of the 1965 Act.
Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the United Nations rights chief said of the ban:
“Discrimination on nationality alone is forbidden under human rights law”
Under the United Nations Refugee Convention, the U.S is obliged to provide safety and protection to those facing persecution. In denying such people admission, the U.S was presumably flouting this duty.
Ireland & Preclerance
Had the ban remained in place, there was also a possible human rights issue relating to preclearance in Irish airports.
The Aviation (preclearance) Act 2009 gives effect to the Preclearance agreement between the U.S and Ireland in 2008. This act means that preclearance in carried out in both Dublin & Shannon airports, which of course are Irish airports, and also the only European airports to have preclearance facilities for the U.S.
Preclearance areas are governed by Irish law however, and must be conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Fiona de Londras, in a blog post, raised an issue in relation to the effect Trump’s Executive Order would have had on discrimination on Irish soil. It is worth browsing humanrights.ie generally on the topic. De Londras noted that if someone was turned away at preclearance, they must be treated in accordance with Irish law and therefore any Irish officials involved must act in a way that is not in contravention with either the Irish Constitution or the ECHR. The State is required to ensure Constitutional rights and right under the ECHR are protected in such preclearance areas. Had the travel ban remained in place, we my have seen breaches of such rights become very topical.
Given that deportation is still a hot topic in the U.S, what do you think will happen next? Will a similar but more ‘thought-out’ ban be put in place?
Featured Image: Stock Image – Unsplash