Effects of proposed Trump travel ban on Atlanta travelers

If the second Trump Travel Ban moves forward, how will travelers at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport be affected?

At the world's busiest passenger airport, many passengers were not directly affected by President Donald Trump's first travel ban in January.

The initial travel ban -- officially known as Executive Order 13769 -- was signed by President Trump on January 27. It blocked entry of individuals into the United States from seven nations -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- for at least 90 days, and suspended the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

The order was immediate and far-reaching, and even served to block individuals who had education or residence visas in the United States, but were outside the nation at the time the executive order was signed.

Delays at international airports across the nation ensued immediately, as some persons were detained as they disembarked aircraft arriving at international airports, including in Atlanta, while other people were prevented from getting on planes heading to the United States entirely.

Protests and demonstrations delayed international and domestic flights at airports across the United States and overseas over the following week. On February 3, a nationwide temporary restraining order was issued by a US District Court Judge in Seattle, challenging the constitutionality of the order, and blocking the travel ban.

The federal government filed an appeal to the order with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which was denied.

A replacement order -- Executive Order 13780 -- was signed by President Trump on March 6, and was intended to take effect just after midnight on Thursday, March 16. The difference between the new executive order and the earlier one is that it removed Iraq from the list of countries involved, it granted individual exceptions for permanent US residents and others already granted admittance into the nation, and it allowed other case-by-case exceptions not noted in the original order.

On Wednesday night, US District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii ruled on a case brought by the state of Hawaii against the president (State of Hawaii v. Donald J. Trump), and issued a nationwide halt to the travel ban which would have barred new visas and prevented the admission of new refugees. In his injunction, Watson wrote that despite changes by the White House, the new ban clearly violated constitutional protections of religion based on comments by Trump during his presidential campaign.

Early Thursday morning, US District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland also ruled, and also suspending a portion of the travel ban. Chuang said the executive order was "the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban" and just as Watson had, pointed to comments made by Trump during his presidental campaign.

A judge in Washington heard arguments on Wednesday and may issue his own ruling on Thursday.

How would the travel ban affect travelers in Atlanta?

Be ready for possible airport delays

If the ban does take effect, travel delays are not only possible, but likely. After the first executive order and ban began, protests were immediate across the nation. They will probably get underway right away if the second ban gets the go ahead.

Give yourself more time

With protests expected to be underway, it is understood that time is the most valuable commodity for travelers to have in supply. Extra time will be needed to get to the airport, extra time will likely be needed to get through the TSA lines, extra time simply navigating the corridors at the airports. Of course, with time always comes patience.

Know which airlines are offering refunds

Some airlines will be more generous than others when it comes to offering refunds or reduced fees when it comes to rebooking or changing flights due to any delays or cancelations due to unforseen circumstances related to any activities at the airports surrounding the travel bans.

Make sure you are carrying the appropriate documents

Drivers licenses, passports, visas, any appropriate documents you will need to travel -- not only should you have them with you, but have them handy when you arrive at the airport. You will need to provide identification when you first get to the check-in counter. When you get to the front of the TSA line, even more stringent security checks are in place, so your identification is even more crucial at that point. An official photo identification is necessary there, along with your boarding pass.

Visa holders should be prepared for additional screenings

Visa holders will likely be shunted into a secondary line for additional screenings once they reach security, in accordance with the increased level of security that the travel ban is proposing. This not only would necessitate even more time as mentioned above, but the need for even more patience. In some cases, travelers are being detained in a separate area, where they may be subject to anything from an additional pat-down to a full-blown interview before being permitted to continue on their journey.

Be aware of your destination country's views on the travel ban

Other nations have varying viewpoints on the president's proposed travel ban, with the leaders of many Western nations strongly condemning the executive order. Iran announced its own plans to ban American citizens from entering its nation, and while other nations have not announced similar plans, if the new proposed travel ban takes effect, reciprocal bans may be placed on American citizens.

Be prepared for some uncertainty overall

Confusion was the order of the hour in the days following the enactment of the first executive order. If the second order is enacted, more uncertainty and confusion will reign once again as travelers and enforcement personnel alike try to understand the new rules and how they affect travel in and through the nation's airports.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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