The Girl Guides of Canada have canceled all plans that require their members to enter the US because of the discriminatory polices of the US government and the harassment that Muslims and people of color experience at the border.
A spokeswoman, Sarah Kiriliuks, said on Monday the organization’s membership was diverse and inclusive and leaders worried some girls could get left behind when a group tried to enter the US.
The decision comes after a string of reports that Canadians have been turned away at the border. In January – on the eve of Trump’s inauguration –several would-be demonstrators said they were denied entry to the US after telling border officials of their plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington.
Last month Canadian citizen Fadwa Alaoui said she had been barred from entering the US after border officials asked probing questions about her Muslim faith and her views on Trump. Weeks later Manpreet Kooner, a Canadian citizen of Indian descent, said she was told she would now need an immigrant visa to enter the US, despite being born in Canada.
Kiriliuks said the Girl Guides didn’t want to take the risk with all the uncertainty. She was not aware of any girls being turned away by US officials.
The Girl Guides of Canada said in a letter to members it would not be approving any new trips to the United States until further notice.
“This just speaks to the Girl Guides of Canada and our commitment to inclusivity,” Kiriliuks said. “We just want to make sure that no girl gets left behind.”
The Girl Guides have always been way ahead on issues of inclusivity and nondiscrimination, which means of course that they will be viewed with great suspicion by the Trump administration.
If even Canadians, who have long had easy entry into the US, are now being treated harshly and discriminatorily, one can imagine that organizations in other countries will take note. Organizations often compete to host international events in their home country and one wonders why any international organization would pick the US as a venue in future since their members would face great uncertainty at the border. Expect to see a shift in conferences and sporting events to other countries that promise to treat visitors with respect.