Global criticism builds against Trump’s refugee ban



Then President-elect Donald Trump looks on in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in their first public step toward a transition of power in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Opposition from abroad to U.S. President Donald Trump intensified Sunday as world leaders condemned his order to temporarily limit immigration from what are predominantly Muslim countries, while Germany pledged to play a bigger role on the international stage.

World leaders including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Trump and said their nations won’t change their immigration policies.

“We do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking,” May said in a statement Sunday, two days after meeting Trump in Washington to begin work on a trade agreement.


Calling the ban a “visible insult” to Muslims, Iran “will reciprocate with legal, consular and political undertakings,” the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Trump’s order was stymied on Saturday when two judges temporarily blocked his administration from enforcing a provision that would have led to the removal from U.S. airports of refugees, visa holders and legal U.S. residents from seven countries. Trump said the measure would prevent terrorists from being admitted into the country.

Trudeau said in Twitter post that Canada would welcome those fleeing “persecution, terror and war. Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith.” A similar message was sent by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who said refugees deserve a safe haven regardless of their background or religion.

Merkel expressed her concerns about a ban during a phone call with Trump Saturday, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Twitter post. Merkel is convinced that the fight against terrorism doesn’t justify putting people from a specific place of origin or religion under general suspicion.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, on Facebook, called the ban “shameful and cruel” and said the new policy “flies in the face of the values of freedom and tolerance that the USA was built upon.” Former Mexican President Vicente Fox said in a Twitter post that the executive order had “united the world” against Trump.

Under the order, the admission of refugees would be suspended for 120 days. Citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya would be banned from entering the U.S. for 90 days, while the government determined what information it needed from other countries to safely admit visitors. The order didn’t list the countries, but pointed to laws that cover those seven, which were provided by the White House.

U.S. Democrats called it a “Muslim ban” and criticized it as inhumane. Absent from the order was a provision from a draft of the document, obtained by Bloomberg, that would have required the Defense Department to make a plan to create “safe zones” in Syria and neighboring countries for people fleeing that nation’s civil war.


Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., likened the ban to the country’s slow response to the Holocaust before the U.S. entered World War II.

“Faced with the humanitarian crisis of our time, the United States cannot turn its back on children fleeing persecution, genocide and terror,” Durbin said in a statement calling Trump’s order a “ban on Muslims in the United States.”

“During the Holocaust we failed to fulfill our duty to humanity,” he said. “We cannot allow mindless fear to lead us into another regretful chapter in our history.”

Nick Wadhams, Justin Sink and Michelle Jamrisko contributed to this report.

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