'Divisive, immoral, counter-productive': international backlash to Trump's travel ban

'Divisive, immoral, counter-productive': international backlash to Trump's travel ban
By Joanna Gill
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Adding to the chorus of disapproval, the UN human rights office said it was mean-spirited and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism.


Private businesses, public figures, and world leaders – the list of condemnations is growing by the hour. A petition to cancel Donald Trump’s UK state visit has 1.3m signatories and rising.

Donald Trump remains on the defensive after signing an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, alongside an order to suspend refugee programmes.

If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the “bad” would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad “dudes” out there!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017

Divisive, immoral, counter-productive are just some of the ways the ban has been described around the world.

Adding to the chorus of disapproval, the UN human rights office said it was mean-spirited and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism.

World leaders and governments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to do everything to support those affected by the ban and condemned the anti-Muslim nature of the order.

“The necessary and decisive battle against terrorism does not in any way justify putting groups of certain belief under general suspicion — in this case people of Muslim belief or of a certain origin. In my opinion, this act runs contrary to the basic principles of international refugee assistance and international cooperation,” Merkel said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the US should revoke the ‘dangerous’ new immigration measures. Speaking on a visit to the Iranian capital, Ayrault said, “It’s discrimination. We want an urgent clarification as soon as possible from the Americans.”

While the British Prime Minister took a different stance.

“The United States is a close ally of the United Kingdom, we work together across many areas of mutual interest and we have that special relationship between us. I have formally issued that invitation to President Trump and that invitations stands,” Theresa May told a news conference in Dublin.

Public figures

British actor Ewan McGregor took to Twitter to call on UK citizens to sign the petition to cancel Trump’s trip over the ban.

Come on UK. Make a stand here. #nomuslimbanhttps://t.co/Bqf6Y0XRgm

— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) January 30, 2017

The Screen Actor’s Guild Award provided a platform for Hollywood to denounce Trump’s latest executive order.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays a vice-president in Veep, used her acceptance speech to speak out against the ban, saying the immigrant ban is a ‘blemish’ and ‘un-American’.

Vid: OfficialJLD</a> (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), to applause, at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SAGAwards?src=hash">#SAGAwards</a> live on TNT: “Immigrant ban is un-American” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TTT?src=hash">#TTT</a> <a href="https://t.co/8vJ4Z62igd">pic.twitter.com/8vJ4Z62igd</a></p>&mdash; Brent Baker (BrentHBaker) January 30, 2017

Actor Ashton Kutcher began his opening monologue addressing the crowd including ‘everyone in airports that belong in my America’.

Ashton Kutcher immigration speech SAG AWARDS 2017 https://t.co/8nJC2cXAV9 via YouTube</a></p>&mdash; GingerDodds (GingerDodds) January 30, 2017

Private Businesses

Ford Motor Company criticised the immigration order, becoming one of the highest profile US businesses to question the president’s decision. “We do not support this policy or any other that goes against our values as a company,“Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs Group became the first major Wall Street leader to speak out against the ban. Reuters news agency reported seeing the transcript of a voicemail sent to employees which read:


“This is not a policy we support, and I would note that it has already been challenged in federal court, and some of the order has been enjoined at least temporarily.”

Germany’s business travel association VDR warned the curbs would limit German companies ability to send employees abroad. US Tech giants Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft also voiced similar concerns.

Airlines have reacted angrily to the ban, saying they were struggling to enforce unclear rules.

“It also placed additional burdens on airlines to comply with unclear requirements, to bear implementation costs and to face potential penalties for non-compliance,” Global airlines association IATA said in a statement, calling for more clarity and more notice in future.

Protests and legal challenges


While last weekend was marked by mass protests against the ban, many more protests are scheduled for airports across the US. Legal minds are also mobilising. Sixteen state’s attorneys said the ban is unconstitutional, while seven federal judges have temporarily stopped deportations.

Protests have also taken place in the UK on Monday night.

London stands against Trump #StandUpToTrumppic.twitter.com/bK4NNBJgY0

— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) January 30, 2017

This anti-Trump protest is so huge both Princes Street and Waverley Bridge have had to be closed to traffic. This is very unEdinburgh. pic.twitter.com/ITTCjuj3XQ

— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) January 30, 2017

The state of Washington will challenge the immigration ban in federal court, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has said, making it the first state to take on the executive order. Tech companoes Amazon and Expedia, both based in Washington, will support the suit, Ferguson told reporters.

Euronews correspondent Stefan Grobe gives his take on the situation.

“Public opinion is almost unanimous: this was amateur hour. Trump is losing political capital while not directly addressing a more urgent law enforcement concern, that of homegrown violent extremists in the US who plot their attacks without any overseas connections at all.”

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