Barack Obama finally speaks up against Trump’s immigration order

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US President Barack Obama speaks during his last press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2017. Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Former US President Barack Obama has spoken up about Donald Trump’s presidency concerning the latter’s travel ban on immigration. Just 10 days since Trump has taken office, his forerunner has already expressed disapproval against his latest executive order.

“The former president disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis said. “Exercising right to assemble and be heard is ‘exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake,” Lewis added.

The spokesman has shared that the former president was “heartened” by the amount of engagement being seen across the country. Flocks of protesters have sprung up against the controversial travel ban. In his final official speech as president, Obama has spoken about the essential role of citizens and how all Americans are responsible in protecting democracy.

The executive order on travel ban issued by Trump on Jan. 27 denies refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter the United States. Based on its text, the order seeks to “protect the United States from foreign nationals entering from countries compromised by terrorism.” The executive order is titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.”

The order indefinitely closes US borders to refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria. Instead, Pentagon and the US State Department will push for “safe zones” inside Syria.

On Monday, the Council on American–Islamic Relations (Cair) issued a lawsuit claiming that Trump’s executive order violates the first amendment of the constitution, which ensures that there should be no prohibition on the free exercise of religion. Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, has claimed that the banning of immigrants based on their country of citizenship went against state statutes. The statutes seek to stop discrimination on place of birth of nationality.

During the Obama administration, the flow of Iraqi refugees has significantly slowed down, but refugees continued to be admitted to the US during his time. There was no outright ban.

In August 2016, the country has reached its target of taking in around 10,000 Syrian refugees. By that time, refugees were still being screened and admitted from Jordan.

Even former secretary of state Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Jan. 28 to express her support to protesters against Trump's move. “I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution,” she wrote.