Civil libertarians and Muslim groups in Canada claim that minorities will be faced with more border hassles according to the planned new procedures for preclearing travellers that will enter the United States.
According to the preclearance, travelers do not have to go through the customs in the United States due to the fact that they’ve already done so before leaving Canada. Currently, all the passengers who are travelling by planes to U.S. cities through the eight major Canadian airports can be precleared there by the U.S. Customs and the Border Protection officers.
The Senate is reviewing legislation that would enlarge the preclearance operations, with the aim of speeding the flow of people and goods across the border.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states that it’s better to be cleared for entry into the United States while in Canada, because travelers are protected under the Canadian charter of rights, as opposed to American laws.
According to the provisions of the bill, travellers would be able to withdraw from preclearance, but a U.S. officer could ask a traveller to identify themselves or pose questions about the reason for withdrawing.
The Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada all claim that they want changes to the bill in order to better protect the fundamental rights.
“Canadian Muslims and other minorities already experience more scrutiny, invasive searches and abusive questions as they go through preclearance areas in Canadian airport,” Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims says.
Tim McSorley of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group says Canadians should not have to give up “essential protections” in exchange for the benefits of faster travel to the U.S.