Everything you need to know on Trump's actions affecting citizens of Muslim-majority countries
The United States shut its doors to refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and suspended entry from citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, all Muslim-majority nations. The move has caused chaos and anger in the U.S. and abroad. Here's what you need to know
- Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, says he will provide temporary residence in Canada to any travelers who are stranded in this country and confirmed that Canadian dual citizens and permanent residents will not be affected by the ban.
- Protests continued Sunday as outrage continued to grow in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration order signed on Friday.
- On Sunday, Mr. Trump defended the policy and addressed charges that the order was rolled out chaotically, with key national security and border officials kept in the dark, according to reports.
- “Our dream is destroyed completely,” said a former U.S. Army interpreter in Iraq who was set to move with his family to the U.S. in a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, a small Vermont town’s plans to bring in 25 Syrian families have been erased.
- Late on Saturday night a federal judge issued an emergency ruling that said stranded travellers could stay in the country following a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU said it would help 100 to 200 people with valid visas or refugee status who found themselves detained.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s position on refugees, tweeting Saturday: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”
- Canada’s top technology leaders are asking Ottawa to to provide “immediate and targeted” assistance, including temporary residency, to those displaced by President Donald Trump’s executive order. Canadian tech executives are expecting the immigration ban to be ’a boon’ for their industry.
- Canadian leaders across the political spectrum spoke out against the ban on Saturday and many said that their jurisdictions were open and willing to receive anyone affected by the executive orders.
- Some powerful world leaders have also joined in the opposition. A spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel tweeted a statement saying that she had expressed her concerns in a phone call with President Trump on Saturday.
The reaction in Canada
Canada's Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, says he will provide temporary residence in Canada to any travelers who are stranded in this country as a result of the order signed by Mr. Trump
Mr. Hussen told reporters that the U.S. administration has confirmed that Canadian dual nationals who also hold a citizenship in one of the seven countries will not be affected by Mr. Trump's executive order. In addition, he said the Canadian government has been assured by the White House that Canadians with a valid Canadian permanent resident card and a passport from those seven countries can still enter the United States as usual.
There are 35,000 dual Canadian citizens who also hold citizenship in one of the countries named by Mr. Trump, said Mr. Hussen who was born in Somalia and obtained his own Canadian citizenship 15 years ago.
Canadian officials are aware of a small number of passengers who have not been allowed to board a flight to the United States from an airport, said the Minister. They will continue to monitor that situation, he said, but, so far, the government is not aware of any traveler who has been stranded at a Canadian airport.
- Gloria Galloway
Political reaction in the U.S.
Democrats, business executives, religious leaders and academics were quick to say that Mr. Trump's order was a violation of America's founding principles that compromised its security abroads
A backlash against the policy has been building even in President Trump's own party. Republican Senators Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, and Ben Sasse have come out against the ban, along with a handful of House Republicans.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump defended the policy in a brief exchange with reporters in the Oval Office, and addressed charges that the order was rolled out chaotically, with key national security and border officials kept in the dark, according to reports.
"It's not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared," Mr. Trump said of a policy that targets citizens of Muslim-majority countries . "It's working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It's working out very nicely. And we're going to have a very, very strict ban, and we're going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years."
On Twitter, President Trump also lashed out at some of his most prominent critics, the Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who released a statement Sunday calling the executive order a "self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism."
The joint statement of former presidential candidates John McCain & Lindsey Graham is wrong - they are sadly weak on immigration. The two...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017
...Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017
Attorneys general from 16 U.S. states including New York and California have condemned the executive order and vowed to fight it, calling the decision "unconstitutional, un-American, and unlawful."
The reaction in Africa
In Africa, the Trump refugee ban is targeted at Somalia, Sudan and Libya, where millions of people have fled from war zones and famine. His new executive order will force hundreds of refugees to return to some of the world's most dangerous and squalid refugee camps.
At least 300 refugees, mostly Somali, are now stuck in Kenya after their flights to the United States were cancelled, according to a report by Radio Dalsan, a radio station based in Mogadishu.
The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, had planned to resettle the refugees in the United States, and their flights were scheduled for Monday, but the flights were cancelled as a result of the new Trump order, the radio station said.
Most of the refugees were women and children who had been waiting 10 to 15 years to be resettled. They will now be forced to return to the Dadaab refugee camp, in northern Kenya near the Somalia border, the report said. "This is very sad for them," a refugee leader at Dadaab told the radio station.
Throughout the weekend, Somali media have been reporting the cases of Somali refugees who were detained or deported after they arrived at U.S. airports.
One Somali citizen, Asad Hussein, said his parents had been waiting 13 years to join their daughter in the United States, and had finally received confirmation of a U.S. immigration interview, when the door was slammed shut by the new U.S. policy. The policy means "my family will likely never be reunited in America," he wrote on the Foreign Policy website on Sunday.
Refugees from war-torn Darfur, a region of Sudan where the military has been accused of genocide for its attacks on local villages, will also be affected by the Trump order.
Those with work permits are equally jeopardized by the new policy. Reports described the case of a Sudanese doctor, Suha Abushamma, who works at a well-known U.S. medical clinic. Just hours after landing in New York on Saturday, customs agents forced her to fly to Saudi Arabia because of the new order.
Sir Mo Farah, the British Olympic hero who was recently knighted, is one of the highest-profile celebrities to be affected by the Trump order. Because he was born in Somalia and is now training in Ethiopia, the gold-medalist distance runner could be banned from returning to the United States, where he has lived with his family for the past six years.
"Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien," he said on his Facebook page on Sunday.
"It's deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home – to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice."
His own story of migrating to Britain and becoming a British sports icon "is an example of what can happen when you follow policies of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation," he said.
"I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome."
– Geoffrey York
Protests broke out in dozens of American cities on Sunday, often concentrated in airports where travellers from the seven affected countries were being detained, ABC News reported Sunday. Some of the largest crowds gathered in New York, Boston and outside the White House in Washington, D.C.
A protest was scheduled for 8 a.m. on Monday morning outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto. Organizers suggested a temporary symbolic shutdown of the building was possible, but promised to avoid disrupting people seeking help with travel. The consulate released a statement saying it would be closed on Monday, anyway, in anticipation of the protest.
The reaction in the Middle East
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif promised "reciprocal measures" against the U.S., without specifying what those would be.
While respecting Americans & differentiating between them &hostile U.S. policies, Iran will take reciprocal measures to protect citizens.5/7— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 28, 2017
"Collective discrimination aids terrorist recruitment by deepening fault-lines exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks," Mr. Zarif wrote in a Twitter thread.
The country's foreign ministry also released an angry statement in response to the executive order, calling it "a clear insult to the Islamic world, and especially the great nation of Iran."
Lawmakers in Iraq, which has also been targeted by the ban, called for retaliation on Sunday. The foreign affairs committee of the country's parliament issued a statement directed at the government in Baghdad. "We ask the Iraqi government to reciprocate to the decision taken by the US administration," said one of the committee members, Hassan Shwerid. "Iraq is in the frontline of the war of terrorism … and it is unfair that the Iraqis are treated in this way."