WASHINGTON: Protesters gathered outside the White House on Monday night, carrying placards that said: ‘Deport White Nationalists’, hours after President Donald Trump issued a new executive order barring travel from six Muslim majority countries to the U.S.
The first ban in January led to a massive public outrage, but this time responses are muted as the ban has not come into effect immediately and there was no confusion or crises at airports. The new order replaces the January order that was struck down by the judiciary.
Several Democratic lawmakers and ethnic, religious and civil rights organisations said the new order was discriminatory, but no judicial challenge has been mounted yet. Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez addressed protesters outside White House.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago said in a statement that the new executive order was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. “It is a betrayal of our nation’s values that our government would slam the door on refugees fleeing war, death and unimaginable conditions, that our government would divide families, and that our government would attempt to exclude people based on their religion,” he said.
T’ruah, an organisation of Jewish rabbis that campaigns for human rights, organised a protest at the Trump Tower in New York. In a statement, the organisation said: “As Jews, who know what it means to be targeted by discriminatory laws, we stand firmly with refugees fleeing war, persecution, and economic strife.” The rabbis recalled that the situation faced by Muslims in America today was similar to what the Jews faced when the Immigration Act of 1924, deemed them “suspicious” or “dangerous”. “Tragically, this policy shift led to disastrous consequences when many people in our community perished after being ruthlessly turned away from our shores… Today’s executive order undermines our values and weakens the moral fiber upon which our nation stands,” the statement said.
National Iranian American Council said that the travel ban amounts to egging on people to commit more acts of hate and discrimination “by making discrimination against us official U.S. policy”. Iran is one of the six barred countries.
Indian-American lawmakers Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Pramila Jayapal said in separate statements that the new order does not make America safe. “Make no mistake: this ban does not keep us safe. It puts American lives at risk while isolating the Muslim community at a time when we need to address the threat of home-grown extremism. No matter the changes, this executive action remains immoral,” Ms. Harris said.
Khizr Khan cancels Canada travel
Meanwhile, Khizr Khan, father of a martyred American solider whose campaign against Mr. Trump during last year’s election campaign created a national sensation, cancelled a scheduled speaking trip to Canada following a U.S government decision to review his travel privileges.
The organisers of the speech that announced the cancellation of the trip quoted Mr. Khan as saying: “This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad. I have not been given any reason as to why.” Mr. Khan has not offered more details to the CBC that carried the story, and the organisers said they did not have more details.