How Trump's Travel Ban Affects Malta
Are local passengers affected?
By now, everyone has heard of US President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban. But how exactly does it affect Malta and the people living here? Political activist Brendan Zerafa breaks the whole thing down.
How did it all happen?
While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump made a pledge to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States. When Trump was elected, he called up his advisor (and former NYC mayor) Rudy Giuliani and asked him to form a commission whose task it would be to come up with a way to implement this temporary ban legally. What the Giuliani commission came up with was an executive order that referred to a 2016 law which characterized the countries in question as "countries of concern".
The executive order bans visa holders and refugees from these seven countries from entering the United States. Initially the ban also applied to green card holders, but the ban on permanent residents was later on reversed. Moreover, the travel ban will last for 120 days.
"Malta's U.S. ambassador Kathleen Hill has also confirmed that the refugee resettlement program has been suspended for 120 days under Trump’s executive order."
How Trump's travel ban affects Malta
Malta has no direct flights to the United States, so citizens of the seven "countries of concern" who are travelling from Malta to the United States using a connecting flight, will not be detained at the Malta International Airport.
However, they will be stopped from boarding the second leg of the flight and if by any chance they’re permitted to board the plane, they will be detained when they land in the United States.
Malta's U.S. ambassador Kathleen Hill has also confirmed that the refugee resettlement program has been suspended for 120 days under Trump’s executive order. It is unclear whether this suspension will be renewed after the 120 days are over. This means refugees from across Europe who were to be resettled in America will no longer be travelling there.
The seven countries listed are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. There are also some reports that Pakistan may soon be added to the list.