Citing their concern over Donald Trump’s xenophobic travel ban, the Girl Guides of Canada have canceled all travel to the United States for the foreseeable future.
According to the Toronto Star, the organization fears that some of its members could be stopped at the border and prevented from entering U.S. territory.
“It also has to do with safety,” Sarah Kiriliuk, Girl Guides’ national manager of marketing and communication tells the Star. “We want to make sure that if our girls are traveling that they are not going to be in a risky or unsafe situation…We can’t leave a girl behind.”
Trump’s revised immigration ban closes American borders to travelers from six predominately Muslim countries: Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. But while these are the only countries specifically named, Girl Guides worries that some of their members could be endangered as well.
Moreover, Kiriliuk explains that their decision is a matter of principle.
“We realize we had to stand by our organizational commitment of inclusivity and diversity,” she said. “We talk the talk, we try and walk the walk. We’re an inclusive and diverse organization, and this is just an extension of that.”
The organization also released a statement, which echoes Kiriliuk’s remarks: “While the United States is a frequent destination for guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter the country is currently uncertain.” International commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson composed and publicized this decision on Monday.
Schools across Canada are also rethinking scheduled class trips that involve travel to the States. As for the Girl Guides, if a trip has already been arranged, then they will perform risk assessments on a case-by-case basis.
“Not being able to cross a border — can you imagine what would happen?” Kiriliuk asks the Star. “A group shows up at the border and one girl can’t go across — that puts everybody in a very difficult situation. So, we want to make sure the girls are safe and that we are extending that inclusivity and diversity to all of our trips.”