On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order suspending the State Department’s Refugee Assistance Program and visa entry from countries including Iraq and Syria, saying that they are “detrimental to the interests of the United States”.
In his most sweeping decision since taking office a week ago, Trump, a Republican, put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travellers from Syria and six other countries. The move sparked confusion and anger on Saturday, after immigrants and refugees were kept off flights and left stranded in airports.
Civil rights and faith groups, activists and Democratic politicians were furious, and have vowed to fight the order.
Meanwhile a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, granted a temporary reprieve. The American Civil Liberties Union successful argued for a temporary stay that allowed travellers to stay in the United States. The court action does not reverse Trump’s order, which was criticised by some of America’s closest allies.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his support for those seeking asylum,
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
The governments of Australia and New Zealand have so far been silent on the issue.
The Department of Homeland Security said about 375 travellers had been affected by the order, 109 of whom were in transit and were denied entry to the United States. Another 173 were stopped by airlines before boarding.
Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai has given taken to Facebook addressing her concerns about Trump’s decision, saying that she was ‘heartbroken’ by his action. “I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” she wrote, “I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees, immigrants – the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair change at a new life.”
See the full statement from the Malala Fund below: