Girl Guides Of Canada Halts Travel To U.S. Over Border Concerns

The organization said the decision to ban trips to the United States stems from a commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

The Girl Guides of Canada put a stop to travel to the United States indefinitely over concerns that not all their members will be able to enter the country.

The Guides won’t be approving new trips to the U.S. and have changed the location of a major trip to a camp in California this summer, according to a travel advisory issued by the organization Monday.

“While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain,” the advisory says.

About 700 girls travel in Canada and to international locations each year, spokeswoman Sarah Kiriliuk told The Huffington Post. The Guides also aren’t allowing trips that include connecting flights through the U.S.

“At Girl Guides of Canada, we know our members value the safe, inclusive and accepting space that Guiding provides,” organization leadership wrote. “This was a very difficult decision to make. We hope that members will appreciate this reflects our commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities for all girls and women.”

The Guides’ travel ban is not a political statement or a specific response to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration and border control, Kiriliuk said, but a way to ensure all girls are safe.

“We want to make sure that there’s zero risk that a girl’s going to get left behind after fundraising, for a year, potentially,” she said.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning travelers without visas from six Muslim-majority countries, halting the refugee resettlement program for four months and drastically reducing the number of refugees that will be accepted this year.

The new order ― a watered-down version of one signed in January that was knocked down in court and caused chaos at airports ― is set to take effect Thursday. The order does not apply to dual nationals, so Canadian passport holders shouldn’t be affected, but permanent residents of Canada from one of the six banned countries may have difficulties entering the U.S., according to the Globe and Mail.

While the previous executive order was in effect, Canadians reported issues at the border, and an Ontario school district near Detroit canceled all student field trips across the river.

Kiriliuk was not aware of any members that have had difficulties getting into the U.S. while traveling with the Guides since January, and said the organization may drop their travel ban in the future. 

“There are so many uncertainties with the border, it’s in a fluid state, and we’re not sure how these rules will be enforced,” she told HuffPost.



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