Montreal lawyer offers guidance on travel ban at Trudeau airport

A Montreal lawyer is among dozens at airports across the country offering information about U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting refugees and seven Muslim-majority countries.

Julien Primeau Lafaille hopes he can help by keeping people affected by the ban in the know

Lawyer Julien Primeau Lafaille hopes he can help confused travellers heading into the United States by keeping them informed. (Submitted by Brian Lipson)

Julien Primeau Lafaille spent hours at Montreal's Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport this weekend, hoping to be in the right place, at the right time should someone need his help.

The Montreal native is among a number of lawyers across the country offering information about U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting refugees and seven Muslim-majority countries.

While the ban has been put on hold, Trump has made his intention to appeal the federal court decision clear. 

Primeau Lafaille knew of colleagues doing similar outreach at airports around the world, and wanted to lend a hand.

"I was honestly moved by my fellow attorneys in America, and I wanted to be able to help them and also the people who were affected," said Primeau Lafaille, who is back in Montreal visiting family after working for the United Nations in Rome.

Two protesters hold a sign critical of U.S. President Donald Trump's now blocked travel ban from several majority Muslim nations. (Jordan Gill/CBC)

Confusion abounds

He says the ban infringes on fundamental human rights.

During the first days of the ban, volunteer lawyers flocked to airports across the U.S. and Canada to offer assistance.

But while they wait for news of what Trump will do next, Primeau Lafaille says the best he can do is to help people stay up to date.

"It' s hard to give legal advice in a situation where it changes, everything changes, and we don't know what's going to happen," he said.

"So we can only prepare people and inform them, and guide them to the right resources they might need in due time." 
Law student research-a-thon co-organizers Rachelle Bastarache and Brodie Noga were inspired by concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on refugees. (CBC)

Along with volunteer lawyers, law students across the country have been coming together to help any way they can.

At the airport Saturday, Primeau Lafaille met up with a group of McGill law students also stationed at the airport with the aim of helping direct travellers looking for information about the country-specific ban.

In addition, hundreds of law students across Canada held a "research-a-thon" Saturday in an effort to come up with legal arguments that could help refugee claimants trying to get into Canada from the United States.