Europe

Irish airports review call on US policy

Protests in many US cities Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protests have been held in many cities across the United States

Discrimination may be happening at US immigration points in Republic of Ireland airports, says the Irish minister for children.

In a tweet, Katherine Zappone called for an urgent review of US policy.

President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Somalia is being implemented at Dublin and Shannon airports.

They are among a small number of airports offering US pre-clearance.

It means that checks are carried out pre-departure and travellers are treated as domestic arrivals upon reaching the US.

Who is affected by the ban?

All travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not permitted to enter the US for 90 days, or be issued an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

This includes those who share dual nationality with allied countries, including the UK, although Canada has been told its dual nationals are not affected.

However, the UK foreign office put out a statement saying only those dual nationals travelling from one of the blacklisted seven countries might be subject to extra checks. It said those travelling from any other country to the US would not be affected and should not be subjected to any extra vetting, "regardless of your nationality or your place of birth".

However, one Scottish veterinary student - who travels on an Iranian passport - was unable to fly home from her holiday in Costa Rica because she was told her transit visa for the US was no longer valid.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said US green-card holders - legal residents - would not be affected, although he admitted to NBC's Meet the Press programme that they could be subject to greater questioning at airports.

Other Irish politicians have added their voices to Ms Zappone's call for a review or suspension of US pre-clearance if it means applying Mr Trump's order.

His decision to halt all refugee admissions and temporarily bar people from seven Muslim-majority countries has sparked protests across the country, and drawn condemnation from the wider world.

Those opposed to it have called it "the Muslim ban" and those who support it claim this is Mr Trump making good on election promises.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protesters at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport called the crackdown Islamophobic

Although US officials operate US immigration law in the pre-clearance areas at the two Irish airports, nevertheless Irish officials support them.

Independent Alliance TD Kevin Boxer Moran said Ireland could not stand by the immigration measures imposed by Mr Trump.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Moran said he would like the Cabinet to meet to look at those measures and make sure that they are not implemented.

Image copyright Rte
Image caption Katherine Zappone called for an urgent review of US policy

"We don't want those measures implemented on Irish soil and I think it's important that we set out that signal quite loud and strong to the American administration," he said.

Irish Minister for European Affairs, Dara Murphy, told RTÉ the order was a "blunt instrument" that would only play into the hands of those who have suspicions about how the western world operates.

Richard Boyd Barrett, TD, condemned Mr Trump's "dangerous and racist orders" and Ruth Coppinger TD said the Irish government must decide which side it is on.

Meanwhile, Humanrights.ie - a website run by legal experts - said it could be argued that applying the executive order in the Republic of Ireland would be "unlawful".

The group described the measure as "nothing more than discrimination based on religion".

More on this story