Trump's Muslim ban casts shadow over Dutch PM's visit to U.S.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting the United States and meeting with Donald Trump on Monday. Rutte plans to announce that the Netherlands will again negotiate establishing American customs personnel at Schiphol. But the D66 fears that Trump's so-called Muslim ban will mean that American customs officers will deny Muslims access to the U.S. on Dutch soil, AD reports.
Coalition party D66 is therefore calling on Rutte to under no circumstances take steps that could make the Netherlands complicit in this entry ban. D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma calls the entry ban discriminatory and against the core values of the Netherlands and the Dutch constitution. "Enforcing the Muslim ban on Dutch soil is too crazy for words", Sjoerdsma said, according to the newspaper. "I now expect the government to reflect again and to not take any irreversible steps in this area."
Trump issued the entry ban last year, only seven days after his inauguration. On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. president has the authority to impose the entry ban if he thinks it is necessary to ensure the security of the United States. The ban currently applies to Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela - most of them countries whose populations are mainly Muslim. The Supreme Court ruling came as a surprise, because other courts previously ruled that the entry ban was discriminatory.
The Netherlands condemned this entry ban from the outset. For the previous government it was reason enough to suspend negotiations on so-called preclearance - having American customs officers do passport checks and searches on passengers heading to the United States at Schiphol, so that they do not have to stand in long lines once they reach the U.S. While the political part of these negotiations was halted, they were restarted on an official and technical level in June last year.
Last week State Secretary Mark Harbers of Justice and Security announced that the "positive course" of these talks gave rise to restart the negotiations on a political level. According to him, preclearance will strengthen Schiphol's position ans an international airport compared to other European hubs. Ireland is currently the only European country where preclearance is used. Schiphol itself is all for this plan, and will be one of the companies traveling to the U.S. with Rutte.
But the D66 is against immediately restarting negotiations. "After the Supreme Court's ruling, we have to look at whether we should not cancel the plan",Sjoerdsma said.
Rutte is flying to Washington on Sunday. On Monday he is expected at the White House. Rutte and Trump have spoken to each other multiple times, but Monday will be their first official meeting.