6 FEBRUARY 2017
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The pre-clearance system that allows passengers on US-bound flights to clear customs and immigration procedures before arrival was thrown into confusion last week in the turmoil over President Trump’s immigration ban.
The row began after the president signed an executive order putting a temporary halt to travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
As a US federal court yesterday (Sunday) rejected the US government’s appeal against a judge outlawing the ban, officials were considering a Dutch government decision to end talks over passenger pre-clearance at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
The policy is now understood to be under scrutiny at other airports, including Shannon, which was the first in the world outside the Americas to offer full US pre-clearance facilities, and Dublin, which created a purpose-built facility for the service in Terminal 2. Many Canadian airports, plus Abu Dhabi, also have the system.
The US State Department on Saturday made plans to begin admitting refugees, including Syrians, as soon as today (Monday) following the legal wrangling, saying the US government was working with its legal team to comply with the new ruling.
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Was Shannon really the first pre-clearance? Even before Toronto and others in Canada?