I Cancelled My 2017 Travel Plans Due to the Executive Order

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In late 2016, I returned from a trip to Myrtle Beach with some exciting news. One of my clients was just about to launch an indie travel agency, and hired me to do their PR work in exchange for travel perks and shares in the company.

By January, I had put together the 5 Travel Destinations on my 2017 List. That post became – and still is – my most popular for 2017.

Through the post, I’ve received priceless advice from locals and fellow travelers, and heard your stories of where you’ve been and where your 2017 travel plans will take you.

Executive Orders

Then, just one week after my post was published, the U.S. President issued an executive order on immigration, which banned the entry and re-entry of immigrants from all over the world.

Ever the vigilant ones, my family and I had a brief five minute meeting; at the end of which we cancelled all our international travel plans for 2017. This included a cruise, and a trip back home to Jamaica.

The nationalities the ban applied to were not disclosed at that time. We weren’t taking any chances.

But Who?

After much confusion at airports and borders, the Department of Homeland Security issued a fact sheet specifying the countries affected as:

  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Iran
  • Somalia
  • Libya
  • Yemen

My family and I were not convinced it would only affect those countries and only Muslims. So we held to our decision to keep our travel plans inside America, at least for the rest of the year.

Jamaica Issues Warnings

On January 31, 2017, on my way home from work I came across news headlines from back home in Jamaica. Jamaican immigration experts and attorneys were encouraging Jamaican U.S. residents in America to stay there.

Our own country was warning us not to come home. Jamaican U.S. residents still on the island were encouraged to leave and return to America. We were reassured that our citizenship would be right where we left it, and not to worry about our status at home.

Those words were like daggers in my chest, and I took to Facebook to share the news. Shortly afterwards, a schoolmate who had migrated to the U.S. to live with her husband, maybe around the same time I did, messaged me.

“Should I be worried?” she asked me. “I’m in Jamaica.”

I admitted that I would be if I was her, and told her to hurry back. She came back the very next day.

Luckily, she had no run-ins with immigration, but she also shared the news that two Jamaican U.S. residents she knew were turned away at JFK in New York, and had their green cards cancelled.

Travel Agency without Travelers

In the days that followed, the indie travel agency reached out requesting a meeting. I met with the immigrant-owners on February 2, 2017.

After we had ironed out the details for the agency and the decision to launch under the Alexis Chateau PR umbrella, they reluctantly cancelled the company trip to Dubai. This was despite the fact that both owners have roots in the Caribbean, not Islamic states; and one is a citizen.

As we looked at domestic travel options, I got my details together for my trip to Las Vegas. I then reached out to a fellow road-tripper to ask if he would be interested in tagging along with me to Alaska this year, since Canada was now out of the question.

The following day, February 3, 2017, my mother forwarded an advisory she received, recommending that green card holders not travel at all for the remainder of 2017. Neither domestically, nor internationally.

What Freedom of Speech?

Along with the advisory not to travel, we were also told to guard our words on social media, which I would assume includes my blogs. Anything perceived as anti-American as decided by the U.S. President would also be perceived as potential terrorism and a free pass out of the country.

Immigrants are being told to take their social media down, to wipe their phones, and gods know what else. While telling one of my best friends in Vegas that I wouldn’t be able to make the trip, I asked him:

How is this America???

We went back and forth for an hour or two about how to work around the ban without risk to me. Finding none, I told him I had a good mind to book the bloody ticket and travel anyway. He replied with:

I’m scared for you if you plan on doing that though, Alex.

He is a U.S. citizen, born to a Jamaican mother and American father. I don’t think he intends to do any traveling this year, either. His mother still resides in Jamaica.

A Small Reprieve

On February 4, 2017 Judge James L. Robart granted immigrants a window of opportunity by temporarily blocking the President’s Immigration Order. According to USA Today:

U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart of Seattle on Friday issued a nationwide restraining order blocking the travel ban put in place by President Trump last week.

The White House quickly responded, saying the federal government would challenge the judge’s decision.

However, unless Robart’s ruling holds against the President’s administration, my family and I have decided to stay put. Travelling for recreation – even when it means revisiting our home country – is just not worth the risks involved, until the dust settles.

Travel Blog with No Traveling

And so it is with a heavy heart that I release the following statement:

Owing to the executive order on immigration and the threats this places on my personal and professional life, there is a high probability that I will not be taking trips – domestically or internationally – for the rest of the year, until further notice.  As an unfortunate result, the Alexis Chateau travel blog may be a travel blog no longer.

Thankfully, over the past year and a half, the blog has ventured into other topics that have done well, and I’ll continue to write on those. Still, I apologise to each and every reader who follows and subscribes to this blog, specifically to hear about all my awesome adventures 10 minutes, 10 hours, or 10 states away. 

I would love to see more of the world, but in the Land of the Free, the decision is no longer mine to make.

I wish the rest of you all the best on your 2017 travels! I will be living vicariously through each and every one of you, so don’t forget to share all your trips and the triumphs and the obstacles along the way.

I’ll be rooting for you, as you’ve always rooted for me.

For those of you who were patiently waiting for the indie travel agency to launch, we still will – just not with the February date we had in mind. I’ll continue to meet with the owners and let you know as soon as their services become open to the public.

209 thoughts on “I Cancelled My 2017 Travel Plans Due to the Executive Order

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  2. Thanks for sharing this! I have been watching the developments south of the 49th parallel with great concern. Over the past 4 years I traveled to the US for pleasure and business a fair bit – however, I also decided to not accept invitations to teach (following the executive order) until a clearer picture emerges. So sorry this has hampered your travel business plans! Best of luck, Anna

    1. Hi Anna. It looks like it has hampered your plans as well. I’m sorry to hear that. We’re watching with bated breath ourselves. Hopefully it all works out for the better, but I’m starting to think that’s just wishful thinking.

  3. I tried. He lost the popular vote by almost 3 million. Most americans are against him and his rather disjointed policies. My gut feelings are this is just the beginning. I am so sorry.

    1. You’re one person in a big country. Your effort counted, but it couldn’t count alone. So don’t be sorry. 🙂

      I’m not sure what the best course of action is going forward, but I hope it doesn’t get any worse than this.

      1. Oh. Lord. He gave a press conference two days ago. It was pretty horrific. It clearly demonstrates he has a disconnect from reality or is ill. No, it isn’t ‘partisan politics’. I’ve had disagreements with that party and it’s politicians before but at the end of the day got on with things.

        Many have said America can only be destroyed from within…and this man can do it.

      2. I have no idea what to make of him, really. Sometimes I wonder if this is all a part of his strategy, or is this really honestly and truly exactly what he means to do? I don’t know. I’m just watching and waiting.

        America might outlive this, after all.

      3. I’m old, I’ve lived through a lot of Presidents, I’ve read up on the ones that went before I was born. This one is different. He could well get us killed.

  4. It’s a huge bummer that you’ve had to make these massive adjustments due to the intolerant executive order. As a caucasian male born in the US, I’m grateful there aren’t really any direct consequences from the order for me. However, writing like yours makes me more conscious of the privileges I have and give me more inspiration to do something about them. Hopefully, liberty and freedom will win out in spite of the current leadership in DC. Keep fighting the good fight and posting great content! 🙂

    1. Thanks Luke! You might not be as privileged as you might think, as far as the order is concerned though.

      I just read a story today about a US-born, American NASA worker who was detained at the airport and had to give them access to his work phone before being allowed in. NASA is pissed.

      All I can think is, if a high ranking government worker and American like him had to go through that, what hope is there for the rest of us??

      Hopefully the Supreme Court makes the right decision

      1. Exactly, fingers crossed about the decision! These stories never cease to surprise me. Definitely makes it easy to question what kind of hope there is in times like these. But we’ll stay hopeful and fight on!

  5. As an American with Trini roots, this bothers me so much. I have friends who are not American citizens ​but have been in this country since they were children. To them, this is home. They cannot imagine being anywhere else. I do not know what I would do if I woke up, and found out they were being deported.

    1. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

      I just read a story today about a US-born, American NASA worker who was detained at the airport and had to give them access to his work phone before being allowed in. NASA is pissed.

      All I can think is, if a high ranking government worker and American like him had to go through that, what hope is there for the rest of us??

      Hopefully the Supreme Court makes the right decision.

  6. This SUCKS! Still, I understand. I am what they call a Mayflower WASP – American roots that far back, and still I am afraid. practically even to venture outside my door. I have not kept my disdain to myself, but I have taken care not to use the name of the man-child who would be king anywhere on line since December – not so easily search-able.

    This feels like Germany before WWII. This man is a menace to the world!
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. Hi Madelyn, here’s to hoping things stabilize. The instability is what scares me most. I don’t like that I could book a flight today in good standing, and then be stuck somewhere tomorrow because the rules change.

      Carefully monitoring the situation though, to look for my window of opportunity. What’s a travel blog without travel??

      I hope your family isn’t as inconvenienced as we’ve been.

      1. Just me, mostly – and not so much inconvenienced as disgusted. SO sorry about your blog as well as the family inconvenience.

        Have you thought about going back through your old pics and creating stories you didn’t really have time to document when you were able to travel? Sort of like a “Once upon a time when Americans could travel freely and without fear” series?
        xx,
        mgh

      2. Haha, you’re hilarious! Once upon a time, indeed. I’ve used up all my trip photos so far.

        I think I might interview other travel bloggers for the time being, until I get my wings again. Ask them about travel hacks, best locations, etc.

      3. You could also do a ‘what I which I’d known then/done firs’ etc. slant on travel to various places, weaving in a story and repeated a picture next to a paragraph that goes sorta’ like this:

        “Regular readers will remember my trip to blah-blah. WELL since we have a douche in charge and I can’t travel, I thought I ‘d get us all prepared for when we kick his a$$ out of office and can go where we want like regular Americans again!”
        xx,
        mgh

      4. I know – lousy situation to be in and I’m truly sorry, Alexis. I’m sure your readers will like whatever you come up with. Hopefully the courts will continue to over-rule. Once he gets a ruling from the Supreme Court we’ll all know better what we’re dealing with. Fingers crossed that the checks and balances put in place by our wise fore-fathers will actually CHECK (and by that I mean stop, not second)

        Scary times in the used-to-be-good ole’ USA!
        xx,
        mgh

      5. My readers have been pretty faithful so far. If anything, I’ve gained more. I’m sure they’ll stick around for some time longer.

        I’m waiting to see how that ruling goes as well. He vowed to fight the overturn tooth and nail. For my own selfish reasons, I hope he doesn’t get his way.

        I really want to travel this year. All my stars were perfectly aligned for it, and then this comes along..

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