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The largest school board in Canada said it won't be booking future trips to the United States, citing “uncertainty” surrounding President Donald Trump’s latest travel restrictions.
The Toronto District School Board announced it would bar new trips to the U.S. because of “uncertainty surrounding these new restrictions — specifically with regards to who may be impacted and when,” John Malloy, director of education for the school board, said in a statement Thursday.
“We do not make this decision lightly, but given the uncertainty of these new travel restrictions and when they may come into effect, if at all, we strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border,” Malloy said in the statement.
The board serves about 246,000 students in 584 schools throughout Toronto, according to its website, which also calls it "one of the most diverse school boards in Canada."
Twenty-four school trips that have been previously approved will still proceed as long as Trump’s executive order remains suspended, the school board said, so that students would not miss out on any potential opportunities. But Malloy added that should the order be fully implemented, the board would cancel any already-approved trips for the remainder of the school year.
Students, parents and staff would be reimbursed for any canceled trips, the school board said.
“For the trips that will be continuing — should students with the appropriate documentation be denied entry to the U.S. for no legitimate reason, the entire trip will return to Toronto and will not proceed,” Malloy added.
The school board joins the Girl Guides of Canada — that nation’s equivalent of the Girl Scouts — in suspending all trips to the U.S. The organization also cited doubts over whether all of its members would be able to enter the country.
Trump's revised executive order sought to block most travel to the U.S. for 90 days by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It also attempted to suspend admission of almost all refugees for 120 days.
That ban was set to take effect earlier this month, but was blocked nationwide by a federal judge in Hawaii. Judge Derrick Watson stopped enforcement of the executive order on March 15 — just hours before the revised travel directive was supposed to go into effect. Watson’s ruling granted a request for a temporary restraining order by the state of Hawaii. The judge said that Trump’s travel order was religiously discriminatory.
A Maryland judge also issued a temporary injunction against the order.
Trump’s first version of the order in late January caused chaos at airports and led to massive protests nationwide, with students, former Iraqi interpreters and green card holders among those reportedly detained or turned away at airports.
A federal judge in Seattle, James Robart, blocked that order on Feb. 3, and an appeals court later refused to reinstate it.
Trump issued his new order on March 6, which removed Iraq from the list of restricted countries and exempted lawful permanent residents and green card holders. The new order also dropped a provision that would have indefinitely suspended the admission of Syrian refugees into the U.S.