School boards overeact by halting US school trips

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The Toronto District School Board will go ahead with all previously scheduled US school trips but adds that the entire team will turn back if one of them is denied entry. Fair enough. What’s not is that the TDSB has decided not to schedule any new travel plans going forward due to the perceived uncertainty regarding the ban on travel from citizens from five Muslim-majority countries. Although the US State Department has made it clear that no Canadian residents would be affected, the board like the Girls Scouts aren’t taking any chances.

Data however proves that these fears are misplaced. Refusals of Canadians at American land crossings dropped 8.5 per cent between October and the end of February compared with the same five-month period a year earlier, according to U.S. government statistics.

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The total number of Canadian travellers denied entry also dropped: 6,875 out of 12,991,027 were refused entry, a refusal rate of 0.05 per cent.

Between October 2015 and February 2016, 7,619 out of 13,173,100 Canadian travellers were denied entry to the U.S., a refusal rate of 0.06 per cent.

About 180,000 fewer people attempted to cross the border in the most recent figures.

Now all eyes are on Peel District School Board (PSDB) to see if they too will err on the side of unnecessary caution.

Several South Asian students have gone recently to the US on camps and trips but none have been turned away. If a new immigrant student has to be questioned or his paperwork has to be scrutinized because of any complications there will naturally be a delay. This has been the case for years now and is nothing new.

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There are cases where some permanent residents may have lived in the US prior to becoming Canadian citizens or may have come in as asylum seekers from the US, in which case there may be some more steps the border agent will have to take. This is natural given the post 9/11 security measures.

Denying students valuable exposure and the opportunity to participate in tournaments and school excursions is not fair to the vast majority of students who will sail through immigration. And if school boards are concerned with students they think may have a problem at the border, perhaps they can take their paperwork to a immigration lawyer who can then advice them on whether or not they need to carry along additional paperwork or identification or perhaps not risk crossing the border at all. – CINEWS

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