OTTAWA – About 200 Canadian people have been unable to use their Nexus cards to cross the American border since U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a temporary halt to immigration from certain countries, the federal public safety minister said Monday.
“None of them are Canadian citizens,” Ralph Goodale said during question period.
“We are working with our American counterparts to make sure that all Canadians are treated fairly.”
The Nexus program allows citizens and permanent residents in both Canada and the U.S. to be pre-screened for clearance in a bid to speed up border crossings.
In the days since a sweeping ban on immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries was instituted by Trump, the Liberal government has repeatedly insisted no one travelling on a Canadian passport should have trouble at the U.S. border.
But how permanent residents who hold passports from any of the seven countries in question will be treated has been less clear, highlighted by the recent furor over the revocation of Nexus cards.
“This order is just over a week old. It is now subject to extensive court proceedings. There is a good deal of uncertainty around this whole situation,” Goodale told reporters ahead of question period Monday.
“We are doing our very best to obtain clarity and to obtain fairness for Canadians in their encounters at the border.”
Opposition immigration critic Michelle Rempel said that should include standing up for permanent residents.
“The Nexus vetting process is very strict, it is very stringent, there are agreements which govern how those approvals are both given and revoked. Why isn’t the government standing up for Canadian interests on this?” she said.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said Canada will issue temporary residency to anyone stuck in Canada because of Trump’s ban, but his department has yet to release statistics on how many have applied for that relief.
The seven countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban are: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.