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What Canadian Experts Are Saying About Trump’s Ban on Dual Citizens from Seven Muslim Countries

Calling it “unprecedented” and “racist” still seems like an understatement.
January 28, 2017, 11:53pm

UPDATE: Justin Trudeau's government has confirmed Canadians with dual citizenship from one of the seven countries named by Donald Trump's executive order will not be affected by the travel ban, despite comments from the US State Department.

Just 24 hours after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim countries, we've learned that ban also extends to Canadians with passports from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

According to a statement from the US State Department, the order does not affect dual-nationality Americans, but does apply to non-American dual citizens of the seven banned countries. That includes those with work visas or permanent residence status, and remains in effect for 90 days.

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"Those nationals or dual nationals holding valid immigrant or non-immigrant visas will not be permitted to enter the United States during this period," reads the statement. "Visa interviews will generally not be scheduled for nationals of these countries during this period."

The news came as a shock to immigration lawyer Raj Sharma, who called the move "mind blowing."

"No one predicted he would take away the rights of individuals already in the US who already have permanent resident status, who have the right to work and travel," he told VICE. "Just like an earthquake, this Trumpquake is going to have unforeseen and unintended consequences."

Sharma said it's still unclear exactly how dual nationality is being defined by the Trump administration. "What is a dual national? It doesn't necessarily mean to have two passports," he said.

Global reported that Canadians born in one of the seven countries without dual status appear not to be affected by the ban. That would have extended to two elected Canadian politicians born in Iran and Somalia.

Canada's transport minister tweeted that the government of Canada is now in contact with the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Transportation to get more clarity on the travel ban and the implications. "We will be providing further information to Canadians as it is available," Minister Marc Garneau wrote.

"These leaders will have to take this up with Mr. Trump, and say that segments of their population are being discriminated against," Sharma told VICE. With so many unknowns at the highest levels of government, Sharma said to expect legal challenges to come. "The courts are going to be engaged on this."

Harsha Walia from the group No One Is Illegal called the order blatantly racist. "This ban targets people based on religion and country of origin and must be fought," she told VICE. Walia called on Trudeau to revoke the Safe Third Country Agreement with the US, which requires refugees to make a claim in the first nation they arrive in.

Sharma told VICE people with passports from the seven banned countries should avoid travel to the US if they can help it, and to seek help from Canadian consulates if detained.

"The problem is going to be the green card holders that might have jobs and families and have been residents for decades," he said. "Those are the poor guys I feel bad for."

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