United States President Donald Trump has said that his immigration ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations was not about religion, reported AFP. “This is about terror and keeping our country safe...America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border,” he said in an official statement.
Trump defended his statement by saying that around 40 Muslim-majority nations were not affected by the executive order. He blamed the media for propagating false news. “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” said the president.
Meanwhile, the new US administration said that permanent residents of the US and Britons with dual nationality from one of the seven countries will be exempted from the executive order. White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner told United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that British citizens will be allowed to travel from UK to US, according to The Telegraph. Another senior administrative official told AFP, “Green card holders as a matter of a policy are exempt from the executive order through the national interest waiver.
The statement came a day after the ban order created confusion. On Saturday, the administration said permanent residents had to request for an individual exemption. The official claimed that till Sunday, as many as 170 people had been granted the waiver. “The entry of these individuals, subject to national security checks, is in national interest. Therefore, we expect swift entry for these individuals,” he added.
After the decree came into effect, scores of travellers were stranded around the world, but the Trump administration underplayed the chaos. A White House official told The New York Times that only around 109 out of 3,25,000 travellers to the US were detained in the last 24 hours.
While scores of people took to the streets to voice their protest against the ban, big companies like Starbucks and Airbnb have come up with offers for refugees. While the beverages major will hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years, the homestay network will provide free housing those turned out by US. “Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US,” tweeted CEO Brian Chesky.
The four-month curb is specific to seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump had said on Friday. The new order immediately halts a US programme that allows for the relocation of people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice to the United States.
Following the ban order, a federal judge restrained the US government from deporting immigrants. The ban has met with protests at several airports, while eminent leaders have voiced their disagreements with the order. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would welcome all refugees after the US’ ban. Both Iran and Iraq are considering barring Americans from the countries in retaliation to the order.