Canada responds to Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban,’ offers temporary residence to those stranded

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, held a press conference on January 29, 2017, on President Trump’s executive order / Fred Chartrand (Canadian Press)

Canada will offer temporary residence to anyone stranded in Canada by United States President Trump’s controversial executive order, says federal immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. Trump’s executive order bars citizens from seven Muslim countries from entering the US.

The executive order prompted protests across the US, and has left thousands of people stranded both at airports and abroad.

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau even took a not-so-subtle shot at the executive order through a tweet, saying, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”

“Canada is a country of immigrants,” Hussen told reporters. “Canadians are proud of our long history of acting with compassion and humanitarianism to those seeking refuge for themselves and their families.”

He continued to say that Canada took in more than 46 000 refugees last year, and plans to take in another 25 000 this year, a decision which has not been affected by Trump’s ban.

The President’s administration has already backpedaled on some portions of the ban, saying it will no longer apply to those who hold permanent residence status, but not citizenship, within the US. Multiple courts have ruled various parts of the executive order unconstitutional, the first challenge with the judiciary for this two-week old White House.

Trump’s approval rating continues to dip historically low, despite the fact that he seems to be following through on most of his campaign promises.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said the ban is something Trump will not compromise on. “We’re not willing to be wrong on this subject,” he said on CBS. “President Trump is not willing to take chances on this subject.”

In addition to blocking citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the US, the order also puts a 120 day hold on all refugees entering the country, and an indefinite hold on refugees from Syria. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Notably, the order, which references 9/11 three times, does not ban citizens from Saudi Arabia, whom most of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of. Additionally, all countries in which Trump holds business interests, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, were excluded from the ban.

Trump himself has defended the ban after facing harsh criticism, even within his own party. “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” he said in a written statement. “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.”

Trump continues to deny that the order is targeting a specific religion, despite the fact that it included an exemption for citizens of the banned countries who are not Muslim.

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