The visa ban signed on Friday blocks people from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Sudan – from entering the US, and there is an outright ban on Syrian refugees until further notice.
While announcing the plan, Trump cited the 9/11 attacks. However, opponents of the ban pointed out that none of the 19 hijackers who committed the attacks came from countries included in the suspension.
Writing on his Facebook page, the founder of the social network site Mark Zuckerberg said: “Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump.
“We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat. Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.”
Zuckerberg, whose great grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland, said that had the refugee ban come in a few decades ago, his wife Priscilla’s parents would have been turned away.
He added: “We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here.
“We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. That’s who we are.”
Turning its back
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani campaigner for girls’ education who survived an attempted murder by the Taliban when she was 15, said she was “heartbroken” about the news.
She said the US was “turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants – the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life”.
She added: “I am heartbroken that Syrian refugee children, who have suffered through six years of war by no fault of their own, are singled out for discrimination.”
Others have pointed to great US innovators who came to US seeking refuge or are descendants of immigrants, including late Apple founder Steve Jobs.
His father was a Syrian graduate student who came to the US to pursue his studies and where he met Jobs’ American mother.
The likes of Albert Einstein, German-born Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger, actress and singer Marlene Dietrich and Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov who all fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s could not have sought asylum in America under a refugee ban, which Trump signed on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Meanwhile, tech giant Google has recalled around 100 travelling staff members to the US fearing they would later not be allowed to return to the country.
It issued a statement saying it was “concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US.
“We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere,” the global brand added.
[This article was originally published by The New Arab and republished here with permission.]