U.S. immigration policies pose school trip challenges

Schools across Canada have concerns about arranging school trips across the border. U.S. immigration policies are the cause, and although Canadian citizens or those with dual citizenship are not affected by the latest attempts at bans, some of the children may originate from the predominantly Muslim countries that are targeted. School boards nationwide, including those in British Columbia, fear rejection or even detainment of those children at U.S. border posts.

School boards endeavour to share available information about the policies with the children and parents or guardians. Furthermore, some require students to arrange insurance to cover costs in the event of cancellations of overnight trips arranged by the schools. A school board in another province noted that any cross-border school trip would be cancelled upon the denial of entry of any student if it was out of the school board's control. Obtaining travel advisories is also recommended before departures on school trips into the United States.

The situation makes it difficult for schools because educational trips require long-term planning. Arrangements for accommodation and travel must be made months in advance, along with the financial securities that must be paid. However, school authorities cannot jeopardise the safety of students who participate in these outings.

The most appropriate steps for school or school board officials in British Columbia may be to secure the services of a cross-border U.S. immigration attorney. Experienced legal counsel can keep those who schedule school trips into the United States up to date with the latest policy changes. Such a professional can also assist with the necessary documentation that each student will be required to have for such trips.

Source: cornwallseawaynews.com, "Schools concerned over U.S. travel ban", Accessed on April 27, 2017

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