Trump defends Muslim ban: ‘World is a horrible mess’
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Trump defends Muslim ban: ‘World is a horrible mess’

US president rejects criticism of his executive order barring refugees and limiting Muslim entry, says America ‘needs strong borders’

US President Donald Trump speaks to House and Senate GOP lawmakers at the annual policy retreat in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Donald Trump speaks to House and Senate GOP lawmakers at the annual policy retreat in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

US President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his insistence that America needs tighter restrictions on immigration, as the world reacted with outrage to his decision to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough new controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.

“Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW,” Trump said in a tweet. “Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!”

US airports and other sites across the United States, including the White House, were expected to see a second wave of protests Sunday against Trump’s temporary immigration ban, which a federal judge partially blocked by ordering authorities not to deport detained refugees and other travelers.

The ruling also coincided with a wave of anger and concern abroad, including among US allies.

European leaders were quick to condemn the ban.

British Prime Minister Theresa May does “not agree” with the restrictions on immigration and will intervene if they affect UK nationals, Downing Street said.

“Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government,” a spokesman for May said.

“But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking. If there is any impact on UK nationals then clearly we will make representations to the US government about that.”

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the restrictions on immigration, seeing them as unjustified, her spokesman said.

“The chancellor regrets the entry ban imposed by the US government against refugees and nationals from certain countries,” Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to the media during a joint press conference with New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 16, 2017. (AFP / Odd ANDERSEN)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to the media during a joint press conference with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 16, 2017. (AFP / Odd ANDERSEN)

“She is convinced that even in the necessarily resolute battle against terrorism it is not justified to place people from a certain origin or belief under general suspicion.”

The German government “will now examine the consequences” of the ban for German citizens with dual nationality affected by the decision, he added.

The US Department of Homeland Security said Sunday it would continue to enforce Trump’s sweeping executive order, which imposes tough controls on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. But it also said it would comply with court orders which have partially blocked the temporary ban.

“The president’s executive orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the US government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the agency said in a statement.

“The president’s executive order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

But the DHS also said it would “comply with judicial orders” — presumably including a federal judge’s ruling that ordered authorities not to deport refugees and other travelers detained at US borders.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly granted the stay late Saturday, writing in her decision that sending those travelers back to their home countries following Trump’s order exposes them to “substantial and irreparable injury.”

Meanwhile a British MP from May’s Conservative Party on Saturday revealed he would be barred from entering the US under Trump’s clampdown.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, January 27, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, January 27, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

Iraqi-born MP Nadhim Zahawi tweeted that he had had “confirmation that the order does apply to myself and my wife as we were both born in Iraq,” even though the pair have British passports.

“A sad, sad day to feel like a second class citizen! Sad day for the USA,” he added.

Zahawi, who has two sons at Princeton University, told BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday that “I don’t think I’ve felt discriminated against since little school. It’s demeaning.”

He called on Trump to reconsider the policy, saying it was “counterproductive” in the fight against terrorism but added he was “reassured by my prime minister’s statement on this” and that he understood her “cautious” response.

Merkel’s condemnation came a day after she spoke by phone with the new US president, when they discussed a range of issues from relations with Russia to the situation in the Middle East and NATO.

Statements released by both sides after the call made no mention of the immigration ban, but Seibert on Sunday said Merkel had reminded the US billionaire of his human rights responsibilities.

“The Geneva Refugee Convention calls on the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds,” he said. “The chancellor stressed this policy in yesterday’s phone call with the US president.”

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