PHOTO: Donald Trump and Melania Trump. (Photo via Flickr/Marc Nozell)
ASTA is watching the Trump administration’s new immigration ban “like a hawk” and will continue to monitor its effect on its members’ business, according to Eben Peck, ASTA’s senior vice president of government affairs and communications.
“The process for this ban is definitely better this time around [compared to the original immigration ban],” Peck said. “But we’re watching [the situation] on a daily basis. We want to be measured [in our response].”
In a statement on the new immigration order, ASTA said, “In late January we asked that ‘the Administration expeditiously set clear rules of the road so that travel industry stakeholders can serve their clients [and] that travel disruptions are kept to a minimum.’ In that regard, the process for rolling out this new order appears improved but again we intend to keep a close eye on these developments as they unfold.”
ASTA noted that President Trump’s new executive order, effective March 16, allows for “the proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals."
The Jan. 27 executive order led to some inbound travelers being blocked from entering the U.S. and, in some cases, sent back overseas, ASTA noted. That order was ultimately blocked by a federal court and will be repealed as of March 16.
ASTA’s statement adds that it has taken part in a conference call with representatives of the Departments of State and Homeland Security (DHS), “who stressed the new order's narrow focus on the visa issuance process and their view that impacts of the new order on ports of entry would be ‘fairly minimal.’”
“Points should be given for clarity and the presence of lead time [in the new order],” said Peck of the new immigration order.
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Peck said the association heard from its members about a number of trip cancellations in the aftermath of the first ban. That kind of member response has dropped off, he said.
“ASTA represents a wide range of travel agencies so it wouldn’t be uncommon for a large number of our members not to be affected,” he added.
Following the first immigration ban, Peck said ASTA planned to survey members on its effects.
“It’s been difficult because things change on a daily basis,” he said of conducting that survey. “We did a little bit of polling initially but that’s not ready for prime time yet. We’ll take a good hard look, maybe in a few months out.”