RELEASE – Travel ban: Canadian Coalition of Lawyers and Advocates Staff Airports to Ensure Immigrants With Valid Visas Can Get to the United States

Legal professionals and students are currently monitoring major airports across Canada

February 4, 2017
For Immediate Release

Montreal, QC, Toronto, ON, Ottawa, ON, Vancouver, BC: The Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition is deploying volunteer lawyers and advocates to major airports across Canada to ensure that anyone with valid documentation is not banned from travel to the United States because of the January 27th U.S. executive order.

A federal judge in Washington state last night temporarily halted the implementation of parts of President Trump’s travel ban. As a result of this temporary restraining order, citizens of the seven affected countries will have their revoked visas reinstated (unless they were stamped “canceled”) and will be allowed to travel to the United States. Those whose visas have already been stamped “cancelled” as a result of the executive order are eligible for a waiver, absent any other admissibility issues, and will not need to reapply for a new visa. The judge’s ruling also prohibits the executive order’s freeze on refugee admissions, including the indefinite ban on Syrian refugee admissions.

Because the stay could be lifted at any time, travelers from the seven affected countries are being encouraged to rebook travel to the United States immediately, while the stay of the executive order remains in place and visas are valid.

Jennifer Bond of the Refugee Hub, which is helping to coordinate the coalition, said “Canadian lawyers are standing in solidarity with our US and international colleagues to work for the protection of human rights. We are hopeful that the presence of legal support at airports will help foster a safe environment for those travelling amidst this ongoing uncertainty.”

“We can confirm that Air Canada and United agents here have now received their new instructions to allow passengers from the 7 banned countries to board planes,” says McGill University law student Sydney Warshaw, who is spearheading the effort in Montreal.  “The Air Canada manager told us the Customs and Border Patrol agents are aware of the ruling and said that passengers from the 7 banned countries will be admitted.”

The Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition currently has teams of lawyers and law students on call at Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Montreal’s Pierre-Elliott Trudeau Airport (YUL), Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW) to assist any travelers unsure about their status under the ban and to ensure that anyone who has been legally cleared to travel can do so freely. Media are welcome to monitor these activities at Canadian airports.

For interviews and background information, please contact the following point people:


  • Corey Shefman, Coordinator of Pearson Airport monitoring, 204-230-3590
  • Kelsey Lange, Refugee SSP Toronto Legal Coordinator, 416-816-1410
  • Andrew Brouwer, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) Advocacy Co-chair, 416-435-3269
  • Jackie Swaisland, Refugee SSP Toronto Coordinator, 519-835-7819, [email protected]


  • Sydney Warshaw, Student coordinator for the McGill Faculty of Law, 514-816-6399
  • Mitch Goldberg, President, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, 514-844-7528


  • Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA, [email protected]
  • Jennifer O’Leary, Coordinator of Vancouver International Airport monitoring, 778-994-8225


  • Emily Bates, Director, The Refugee Hub, 613-882-3484

About The Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition: The CCBLC is a network of Canadian lawyers working to help those impacted by the US President’s discriminatory travel ban, in partnership with colleagues in the US and around the world. On January 27, 2017, the US President signed an Executive Order banning entry to the US by individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries, as well as all refugees. This travel ban has caused large-scale rights violations and senseless family separation, and left thousands of refugees stranded in desperate circumstances.

The Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition grew out of the spontaneous mobilization of hundreds of lawyers who rushed to airports in the US and Canada to help those impacted by this discriminatory Executive Order. It brings together leading Canadian organizations and groups of volunteer lawyers and law students who quickly came together to oppose the ban and fight for the rights of those impacted.

Coalition partners include:

  • The Refugee Hub
  • Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  • Dedicated groups of lawyers and law students who have self-organized across Canada
  • Leaders in the Canadian legal community