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US border control was thrown into ‘confusion’ by Trump's Muslim ban, British government says

FCO minister says advice to UK travellers was inconsistent

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Monday 27 February 2017 17:01 GMT
Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Getty)

The US border control and immigration system was thrown into “confusion” by Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ executive order, the British government has said.

Baroness Anelay, a Foreign Office minister, blamed US border authorities’ implementation of the President’s policy for reports of British dual nationals being turned away at airports.

The minister explained to the House of Lords on Monday that conflicting advice to travellers was because different US authorities had interpreted the travel ban differently.

“The difficulty was that there was some confusion in the United States systems. This was evidence from the changing nature of their travel advice online,” the Conservative peer said.

“It was the urgent engagement by this country, by the FCO, and by the Prime Minister which meant that we were able to get the earliest advice to British passport holders that they would not be adversely affected.”

British dual nationals with passports from blacklisted Muslim-majority countries were told by the US embassy in London not to apply for visas following the implementation of the ban.

This apparently conflicted statements by the Foreign Office, which claimed it had been assured by the White House that British nationals would not be affected.

FCO minister Baroness Anelay in the House of Lords (House of Lords)

However despite the assurances, British Muslims have continued to be detained in some circumstances upon entering the US.

The minister also confirmed that a Welsh Muslim teacher who was reportedly banned from the US whilst on a school trip had not been given a reason for his refusal.

“With regard to the particular case of Mr Miah ... who was removed from a flight between New York and Reykjavik, my Lords, it is the case that he has not been given a reason for the entry refusal by the US authorities,” she said.

Donald Trump’s first executive order was declared illegal by American courts. The President says he will issue another order in the coming weeks with different rules to achieve his aim.

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