Reciprocity begins, and not just in the Middle East

Immigration kiosks already speed the arrival process for many travelers, but they don't address CBP's bigger desires

Following last week’s Executive Order significantly shifting US policy on refugees and immigrants from seven countries the smart money was on those nations implementing similar restrictions. It was less clear how other countries would respond, at least in an official capacity, to the Order. Now we’re starting to see some of those answers.

Iran was the first to respond, explicitly stating that its block on US visitors was based on reciprocity. From a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry and cited by Reuters:

While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted.

Iraq followed suit soon thereafter, with Parliament approving a call for reciprocal actions. Unlike in Iran, however, the Iraqi parliamentary move is non-binding. Per the BBC:

The deputy parliament speaker, Sheik Humam Hamoudi, says the vote approved in the Iraqi parliament on Monday was “a recommendation” and did not move as a “law.”

Turns out that the Iraqi government structure does not allow for the Parliament to originate legislation dictating actions to the Executive branch. Even if only ceremonial it is a move that should raise some concern. For both Iran and Iraq the traditional tourism visits may be relatively low in number but there are business and humanitarian interests that stand to be significantly affected.

Read More: Airlines scramble to comply with US temporary travel ban

And then there are the other countries responding. Ireland hosts two US pre-clearance facilities where US officials handle immigration and customs processes before travelers depart for the US rather than upon arrival. These facilities are a boon to Aer Lingus’ operations as a transatlantic airline. Now those facilities are coming under attack from members of the Irish government. Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is pressing her colleagues to consider revocation of US authority to operate in Ireland, pending a review of legality of the US Executive Order.

We need to determine whether our Constitution and the international treaties we have signed up to, that those laws operate in context of Irish soil in terms of prohibiting those policies of discrimination against nationalities, and also people of particular religions, that Donald Trump has implemented.

Irish government officials are in the US this week and no doubt this will be a topic of conversation at those meetings.

UPDATE: The Irish government has ordered a “complete review” of the pre-clearance arrangement in light of the EO.

The irony of the US potentially losing access to pre-clearance facilities on foreign soil as it claims to be strengthening the borders is hard to miss.

And, for its part, the IATA trade group issued a statement supporting the free movement of people while also respecting borders. The group mostly expressed frustration at the timing and scope of the implementation, noting that its TIMATIC systems could not be updated quickly enough given the lack of coordination:

Entry requirements for the United States were changed significantly and immediately by an Executive Order (EO) issued 27 January 2017. The EO was issued without prior coordination or warning, causing confusion among both airlines and travelers. It also placed additional burdens on airlines to comply with unclear requirements, to bear implementation costs and to face potential penalties for non-compliance.

We ask for early clarity from the US administration on the current situation. Moreover, we urge all governments to provide sufficient advance coordination of changes in entry requirements so that travelers can clearly understand them and airlines can efficiently implement them.​

Emirates already adjusted its crew schedules to keep some employees out of the USA based on the ban. It is likely other airlines will have similar requirements, though none have been as public about those needs.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. “The irony of the US potentially losing access to pre-clearance facilities on foreign soil as it claims to be strengthening the borders is hard to miss.” And, we have a winner… Spot on, Seth.

  2. I understand you are used to Obama’s style of leadership (or lack thereof), his doctrine being bend over backwards for everyone lest we offend or upset them. Who cares about Iran, they hate us regardless of our policy, if you haven’t figure that out yet. But Ireland? Ha! They would be wise not to poke the bear. You have a lot more to lose if Trump decides to shut down the Irish corporate tax avoidance schemes, as well as your airlines using said tax advantage and access to our airports to operate as a major US-Europe low cost hub.

    1. There is a major difference between losing pre-clearance at DUB/SNN and the US dropping its participation in the TATL Open Skies treaty. The latter would be devastating to far more than just the aviation community.

  3. Amen to WR’s remarks. Trump did exactly what he said he would do so why the sudden onset of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth?

    1. The disproportionate outrage further highlights the disconnect between the leftists and the American electorate. The unrelenting opposition will tire and run out of sponsors, along with an audience.

      1. Perhaps you should reconsider the use of “unrelenting” in that context. Not the best choice of words given the point you’re trying to make.

        Also, calling it a disconnect with the electorate when a significant majority did NOT vote for Trump is a strange conclusion to draw. I’d love to hear the logic behind that.

        1. Here is the deal Matt, Trump won the election only because of the Electoral college, where certain states people’s votes count less than other states (ie Wyoming for example, 142,000 people = 1 electoral vote, while California is 508,000 per electoral vote.) We know the popular majority didn’t vote for the Right.

          The real disconnect is the fact that we have become a country where the rural population doesn’t know the difference between obamacare and the ACA or that you are more likely to be shot by a white man that killed by a terrorist.

          1. You are delusional sir. No rich ( or poor) WHITE men ( define white for me please) are driving around each day with a sawed off looking to cut you down Ese.

        2. No actually Seth a majority did vote for our current President and he is your president.

          The misuse of the ACLU and DNC of the 24th Amendment whose original purpose was to prevent abuse of voting rights of poorer citizens through the use of poll taxes has allowed a situation to creep into our politics where millions of American voters are not even documented U.S. citizens.

          George Clooney has come out as a big supporter of all of this, so perhaps I could advise that travelers seeking refuge contact him for shelter. I hear he has villas near Milan, Marseilles, parts of Asia, etc etc.

          1. Numbers are hard some times, I suppose, but neither the majority of votes cast nor the majority of people in the US voted for Trump. And the assertion of widespread voter fraud is wholly unsupported by any legit evidence.

          2. Good Seth. Then we’ll repeal 24, which is in the works.

            Remove all the CA and NY voters registered who don’t have valid citizenship.

            And conduct the elections in 2018 and beyond.

            Simple enough Math.

          3. Also, once ALL of that is done.. Will take over a year.

            We THE PEOPLE shall seek compensation for all the Federally funded dollars that were spent in providing services to citizens who were not eligible for such services in “Sanctuary” locations.

            If you don’t have the $ to pony up, no problem.

            Ask Hollywood for a Loan.

          4. Oh and if you have any problem with what’s been said, you can protest.

            But don’t act like you weren’t given notice.

            No formal legal notice will be forthcoming.

            Nothing to fight over. You want to run your own country, your own way, thumbing your noses at the powers that be.

            NO PROBLEM.

            You’re going to do it with your own $.

    2. I will not dispute that he is doing exactly what he said he would do. I did not like the policies a year ago, either. I believe they are bad for the US economy and the safety of its citizens, of which I am one. I also travel a lot and write about travel so when policy changes are implemented-especially in a rushed manner-that affect travel there’s a pretty good chance I’ll write about it.

      1. It’s in nobody’s interest to discourage American citizens from traveling. Nor do we wish to discourage the normal operation of American business interests both here and abroad.

        The situation we wish to address which has been ignored since the 1970’s is THIS.

        All the while you’re D senator is droning on about Memphis in the 60’s.

        Was Deng Xiaoping a participant in the civil rights movement?

        You learn something new EVERY DAY in Fake News America.

        1. excuse my misquote,, obviously ‘you’re a D senator droning on about Memphis in the 70’s.’

  4. Sources in the White House describe the order as a last minute, impulsive, and frankly reckless act. Mr. President, please plan your policies as a chess game, and not checkers.

    1. Wanna bet we are going to see a whole lot more of those “well thought out and implemented” actions over the next four years?

  5. Thank you Seth for continuing to use your blog to talk about these disastrous policies.

  6. Looks like Ireland is making a move. Late this afternoon Ireland-time the government announced it would undertake a “complete review” of the pre-clearance situation. It also confirmed that one passenger was denied clearance at Dublin since the EO took effect but did not offer any further details.

  7. Thank you Seth for staying on top of this. A lot of ‘checkers pieces’ in motion at one time.

  8. Comrade Twitter Troll has, with the stroke of a pen, made it more dangerous for we Americans to travel abroad.

    1. You’re the total trolls who for years set up one set of rules , and moved the slide rule, onto the next, here comes the slide.

      That little Morris Day and the Time slide you do just slid your ass right out into oblivion.

      Join your predecessors.

      ExPatriate. For the good of us all.

      Yeah like there’s not a huge number of folks living abroad , maintaining dual passports and then funding their
      People Corporations through PAC donations.

      Ooooh it’s awful, If I go to Iran I won’t be able to use the services… Well unless I was Ahnold and a full military escort there’s no way my dumb arse would be in Iran…. Morons.

  9. Thank you for speaking out for what is right Seth.

    Politics aside, this EO is morally unjustifiable.

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