I’m really worried about the on-off-on-off travel ban that’s the subject of ongoing legal action in America. To summarise: President Trump (urgh) enacted an Executive Order stopping anyone arriving from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days, and suspending the US’s refugee programme. Right now, the ban has been temporarily lifted by the courts, but I expect this to go back an forth for some time.
I’m not from any of those countries, nor am I related to anyone from that region or have been to any of those countries. But I have been to the middle-east region for work, including to Amman in Jordan, which is around an hour from the border with Syria. My passport, valid for several more years, carries visas for Oman and Jordan.
And I’ve heard stories where those arriving at US airports are being asked to show their social media profiles, or asked about their opinions about the new US president. My opinions are hardly favourable. I think Trump is a disaster for America and the world, and have shared a number of anti-Trump statuses on Facebook and Twitter.
When even the former Prime Minister of Norway is pulled aside for additional questioning over a 2014 visit to Iran, it makes me worried that I will be allowed into America in the current climate. Especially if the legal challenges against this ban fail. I hope they won’t.
I’ve never been to America but have always wanted to go. Christine has family out there, and her uncle recently gained American citizenship. Whilst he has met Lizzie on a recent visit to Britain, the rest of Christine’s relatives haven’t yet had the chance.
Of course, the main factor stopping us from getting to America is money – getting across the Atlantic is going to be expensive, and we have a lot of other things that we also need to spend money on. But I don’t want to be in a situation where we’ve spent hundreds of pounds on flights, to then be turned away at the border, or lose several hours whilst being interrogated by immigration officials. Nor do I want to be forced to keep quiet on social media about issues I feel strongly about.