British airports could help enforce Trump’s ban on refugees and travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries
- US and UK governments are in talks to introduce ‘pre-clearance’ at UK airports
- The system could be rolled out at Manchester, Edinburgh, and London Heathrow
- A similar system already operates in Ireland, at Dublin and Shannon airports
President Trump’s controversial immigration policies could be introduced at three UK airports under plans to pre-screen passengers before they fly to the States.
The US government is in talks with UK authorities to introduce what is known as ‘pre-clearance’ at Manchester, Edinburgh, and London Heathrow airports.
A similar system already operates in Ireland, at Dublin and Shannon airports, which allows US-bound passengers to undertake all American immigration, customs and agriculture inspections prior to departure.
The system is also in place in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and the Caribbean, and there are plans to extend it to several other countries including the UK, Japan, Belgium, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.
If a similar policy was introduced in the UK, it would mean US immigration officers could apply Trump’s controversial executive order to vet passengers travelling to the US from Britain.
Irish leader Edna Kenny has already pledged a ‘complete review’ of the system after Trump introduced travel restrictions on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
The Netherlands has already abandoned plans to introduce pre-clearance at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport following Trump’s so-called ‘Muslim ban’.
However, the UK Home Office told BuzzFeed News that plans to introduce pre-clearance from British airports would still go ahead.
The spokesman said there were ongoing talks with the US on potential pre-clearance arrangements, adding that there had been no change to UK immigration rules.
The US Department of Homeland Security announced plans to extend pre-clearance to UK airports in 2015.
The then Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said at the time: ‘A significant homeland security priority of mine is building more preclearance capacity at airports overseas. We have this now in 15 airports.
am pleased that we are seeking negotiations with ten new airports in nine countries. I want to take every opportunity we have to push our homeland security out beyond our borders so that we are not defending the homeland from the one-yard line.
‘Preclearance is a win-win for the traveling public. It provides aviation and homeland security, and it reduces wait times upon arrival at the busiest U.S. airports.’
According to a US government official, pre-clearance could be in place at UK airports within the next five years.