Trump’s travel ban: Uncertainty over impact on Irish airports

Passengers flying to the United States to experience further screening, security checks

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/File

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/File

 

Airport officials and the US embassy in Ireland have not received any information from the US department of homeland security about how US president Donald Trump’s travel ban and extra security checks are to work at Irish airports.

On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court partially restored Mr Trump’s travel ban, which was an executive order banning entry to the United States for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The rules applies to people from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, and to all refugees travelling from any country. Iraq was initially on the original travel ban list but has since been removed.

The revised ban will allow people with “close” connections to the United States enter, who either have a spouse, parent or sibling already in the country, or who have accepted a job offer, speaking engagement, or college place.

However grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins, and brother or sisters in-law are not considered “close” family under the ban.

Someone from the listed countries who was granted a visa to travel to the US before January 27th this year will still be allowed enter, but all new applicants will have to prove they have a close relationship with the country before they are given a visa.

Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport operates a US preclearance facility on all flights to the United States. This is where US officials carry out immigration, customs, and security inspections at the Irish airport, and from there on the flight is treated the same as a domestic US flight. Passengers avoid immigration checks when they land.

Dublin Airport is only one of a small few airports outside of North America that offers the preclearance service, but this means new measures such as the travel ban will be enforced in Irish airports.

The travel ban announcement came alongside a notice that extra screening and additional security measures will be brought in for all flights travelling to the US.

Homeland security secretary John Kelly said the additional screening measures were to combat the threat of international terrorism to the United States.

“In March I made the decision to ban electronic devices larger than a cell phone from the passenger cabins of US bound commercial flights from the ten airports in the Middle East and North Africa,” Mr Kelly said.

“New security measures (are) to be applied to all commercial flights coming into the United States from abroad. These measures will be both seen and unseen, and they will be phased in over time,” he said.

An advisory statement from the department of homeland security said “all passengers flying to the United States may experience additional screening of their person and property”.

“We recommend that passengers flying to the United States prepare for a more extensive screening process.”

The implementation of the additional security measures and the rollout of the travel ban began on Thursday, according to a statement from the department.

US officials from the department will be responsible for the operation and implementation of the travel ban at Irish airports, on preclearance for all flights to the United States.

The department said it expects no disruptions to service as the travel ban is enacted.

A spokeswoman from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said it is still unclear how and to what extent the travel ban will be implemented at Irish airports in US preclearance areas.

“US preclearance is operated by the US department of homeland security. Secondary security screening is carried out on all passengers before they go through the preclearance documentation process,” she said.

“The important thing to note is that these new additional screening requirements are for airlines to implement, and Dublin Airport will work with our airline colleagues to help in any way that we can.

“Because the information only came to light late on Wednesday evening it’s really too early to ascertain how they will work in practice and this detail is being worked out behind the scenes” she said.

The US embassy in Dublin also had not received a briefing from the departmen on how they new security screening or travel ban will operate and affect Irish air travel.