Global concern grows over US travel ban

By BBC

Global condemnation of a new US travel ban on immigration from seven countries is growing, as President Donald Trump faces fresh protests at home.

The European Union said it would never choose isolation and inequality over openness and social equality.

The parliament in Iraq, one of the seven nations, passed a motion calling for reciprocal action to be taken.

Amid widespread confusion, the White House has defended the restrictions as necessary safety measures.

The Trump administration says they do not amount to a ban on Muslims and they will be lifted once new security procedures are put into place.

In a tweet, Donald Trump said there were “a lot of ‘bad dudes’ out there”. He said that if a week of advance notice was given “the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week”.

But UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that the ban was “mean-spirited and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism”.

Mr Trump’s executive order halted the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and suspended all nationals from the seven, Muslim-majority, countries.

The list does not include Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks came from.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which has 57 member states, said the restrictions would only help extremists.

Countries including Britain and Germany have sought assurances that their citizens with dual nationality will be protected.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the restrictions again on Monday, saying the fight against terrorism does not justify “general suspicion against people of a specific faith”.

Some European politicians, including Czech President Milos Zeman and Dutch anti-immigration firebrand Geert Wilders, have praised the ban.

In the US, 16 state attorneys general have said the order is unconstitutional. Several federal judges have temporarily halted the deportation of visa holders.

Three African countries – Somalia, Sudan and Libya – are on the banned list and as a result the African Union (AU) was facing one of its “greatest tests”, AU commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said.

Speaking at the pan-African body’s annual summit in Ethiopia, she said the world was entering “very turbulent times”:

“For example, the very country to whom our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade, has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” Ms Dlamini-Zuma said.

Trump ban sparks Middle East anger

In Iraq, the government is facing calls from lawmakers to enact a reciprocal ban on US citizens.

The foreign ministry called for the White House to review its decision, noting it is an “allied state linked by strategic partnership with the United States”.

Yemen, Iran and Sudan – all on the list – have also criticised the restrictions.

In the UK, more than a million people have signed a petition to stop Donald Trump’s planned state visit later this year. Protests in response to the executive order are set to take place in several cities later.

Who is affected by the ban?

As well as the ban on all refugees, travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not permitted to enter the US for 90 days, or be issued an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

This includes those who share dual nationality with allied countries, including the UK, though there remains much confusion.

The UK Foreign Office says that only those dual nationals travelling from one of the blacklisted seven countries would be subject to extra checks.

But there have been several reports contradicting that. BBC reporter Ali Hamedani, an Iranian-born British citizen, was detained and had his phone searched when he flew into Chicago from London.

Some US Green Card holders – legal residents – have been detained since the order came into effect but they are now exempt from the ban, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

What does the White House say?

Mr Trump tweeted early on Sunday that the US needed “extreme vetting, NOW” but later, in a statement, tried to offer more reassuring words, saying: “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.

“We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days,” he said.

  

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