The Girl Guides of Canada
are cancelling all travel to the United States
because of fears that their members might have trouble at the border due to travel restrictions enacted by Donald Trump.
A spokeswoman, Sarah Kiriliuks, said on Monday the organization’s membership was diverse and inclusive and leaders worried some girls could get left behind when a group tried to enter the US.
The decision comes after a string of reports that Canadians have been turned away at the border. In January – on the eve of Trump’s inauguration –several would-be demonstrators said they were denied entry to the US after telling border officials of their plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington
Last month Canadian citizen Fadwa Alaoui said she had been barred from entering the US after border officials asked probing questions about her Muslim faith and her views on Trump. Weeks later Manpreet Kooner, a Canadian citizen of Indian descent, said she was told she would now need an immigrant visa to enter the US, despite being born in Canada.
The temporary travel ban by Trump on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries has also prompted concern among Canadian schools over the potential treatment of foreign-born students at the border.
Kiriliuks said the Girl Guides didn’t want to take the risk with all the uncertainty. She was not aware of any girls being turned away by US officials.
The Girl Guides of Canada said in a letter to members it would not be approving any new trips to the United States until further notice.
“This just speaks to the Girl Guides of Canada and our commitment to inclusivity,” Kiriliuks said. “We just want to make sure that no girl gets left behind.”
A nationally sponsored trip to a California camp that was scheduled for this summer is being relocated. The group is encouraging local leaders to consider domestic trips instead.
Canadian schools are also considering cancelling trips to the US.
Jim Cambridge, superintendent of the Sooke school district in British Columbia, has said a number of trips planned for sports, music and educational purposes in the coming months are being reconsidered.
The Greater Essex County school board in south-western Ontario decided recently to cancel a handful of trips over concerns of equity. And the Ottawa-Carleton district school board sent a letter to parents to confirm whether their children would participate in forthcoming trips across the border to determine whether plans should go ahead.
Students in the Pembina Trails school division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, participate in many international trips, but Ted Fransen, the superintendent, said the recent decision to cancel one was made easily.