OTTAWA – Trusted-traveller Nexus cards revoked from about 200 Canadian permanent residents have been reinstated, at least for now, says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
The Nexus cards, which help people cross the border more swiftly, were cancelled a few days ago because a recent U.S. executive order on immigration made the holders ineligible, Goodale confirmed Wednesday.
But he acknowledged the issue remains in flux due to ongoing court proceedings over the American order, which banned travel to the U.S. by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa.
A U.S. court ruling suspended the order, opening the door to reinstatement of the Nexus cards. However, the White House has appealed the ruling, meaning the card controversy may be far from over.
“The government of Canada continues to work to ensure all Canadians are treated in a fair and expeditious manner,” Goodale said in a statement.
As of December, there were almost 1.5 million members in the Nexus program — about 80 per cent of them Canadians.
Neither the Canada Border Services Agency nor U.S. Customs and Border Protection would answer questions about whether any Canadian citizens had cards revoked. Goodale said earlier this week that no Canadians were affected.
Toronto lawyer Cyndee Todgham Cherniak said Wednesday she knows of at least seven Canadian citizens and at least five permanent residents who had their Nexus cards revoked by the U.S. agency.
“That was very unfortunate, that they took that step,” she said.
“The reality is the Canadians don’t know, because it wasn’t an action taken by the CBSA.”
Goodale’s statement said Nexus card holders who feel aggrieved by eligibility decisions taken by the U.S. government can seek recourse by calling (202) 325-8000 — an American number.
Todgham Cherniak said Canada’s border agency should be handling the calls, since Nexus is a binational program. “It should be a Canadian phone number.”
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