Trump’s order affects citizens of Syria, Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Yemen. The US Department of Homeland Security said the entry ban would also apply to dual nationals of the seven countries. Trump used Twitter to express his views saying:
NGOs dedicated to helping refugees have condemned the decision. Handicap International, which supports displaced people from all but two of the seven targeted countries, believes it will have significant negative consequences for people who are already extremely vulnerable.
“Conditions in many camps and host communities are already crowded,” says Jeff Meer, Executive Director of Handicap International in the US. “To close off even a small avenue for some refugees to leave for a better life seems cruel and unnecessarily harsh, and punishes not only the civilians caught in conflict, but also the countries that host them.”
Over the weekend, thousands marched on New York’s John F. Kennedy airport to protest the ban. They were there to defend the rights of people arriving from majority-Muslim countries detained before they could enter America and the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants Trump wants to deport. Protestors held banners reading slogans like “No Ban. No Wall”, “No Borders” and “Shame” as they surrounded Terminal 4.
World leaders have also criticised the decision. Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Nobel Peace Laureate, shot by the Taliban following her advocacy for women’s education in Pakistan wrote that she was “heartbroken”. Religious leader Pope Francis said that “a person who thinks only about building walls and not of building bridges is not Christian”, while Canadian President Justin Trudeau tweeted his country’s stance on immigration with the hashtag #WelcomeToCanada.
Across the pond, the order has put early strain on the “special relationship” with the United Kingdom. A petition to ban President Trump from visiting the UK has amassed over one million signatures, and will be debated in Parliament. “Donald Trump’s well- documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency, Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official state visit,” the petition states.
The executive order has also placed a dark cloud over this year’s Academy Awards as some of the stars come from targeted countries. Iranian Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi said he will not be attending this month’s ceremony. The director of ‘The Salesman’, nominated for Best Foreign Film, said: “To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity.” Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who stars in the film, is also boycotting the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the world’s biggest companies have begun the fervent recall of staff abroad in case of further sanctions. Google told staff to return to the US after several Iraqi passengers and a Yemeni national were stopped from boarding a flight at Cairo airport bound for New York, despite holding valid visas for the US. The rules surrounding Green Cards remain unclear as they were not mentioned in the executive order.
Trump announced his intention to ban visitors from majority-Muslim countries during the Republican candidacy race in 2015. He is simply following through with the promises he made that got him elected. Many hoped that once in power democratic safeguards would prevent Trump from executing many of his proposed policies, they were wrong. Let’s see if Trump can finish his first month in charge without managing to offend everyone and alienate America from the rest of the world. Something tells me he won’t.