Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi, who yesterday learned that Donald Trump’s new immigration order would mean he is banned from travelling to the US, has reacted to an announcement this evening that those travelling from Britain are exempt.
The Conservative politician confirmed via Twitter that as both he and his wife were born in Iraq, even though they are British and hold British passports, they will not be permitted entry to the US under controversial new rules.
But in an announcement this evening, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who today held conversations with the US Government, said: “The Presidential executive order only applies to individuals travelling from one of the seven named countries.
“If you are travelling to the US from anywhere other than one of those countries (for instance, the UK) the executive order does not apply to you and you will experience no extra checks regardless of your nationality or your place of birth.
“If you are a UK national who happens to be travelling from one of those countries to the US, then the order does not apply to you – even if you were born in one of those countries.
If you are a dual citizen of one of those countries travelling to the US from OUTSIDE those countries then the order does not apply to you.
“The only dual nationals who might have extra checks are those coming from one of the seven countries themselves – for example a UK-Libya dual national coming from Libya to the US.
“The US has reaffirmed its strong commitment to the expeditious processing of all travellers from the United Kingdom.”
Mr Zahawi, whose reaction made national headlines today, told the Herald exclusively tonight: “I commend the Government and the FCO for working through the day and tonight to seek this very important clarification and assurance for British Citizens. Many Brits will feel better tonight.
But he added: “I still think a policy to exclude genuine refugees fleeing persecution from countries like Syria is a mistaken policy and runs counter to the values and freedoms of a great country like the United States of America.”
An executive order signed by Trump on Friday bans all people from certain terrorism-prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days. The text of the order doesn’t name the countries, but a White House official said they are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
The same order also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated for nationals of countries that Trump’s cabinet believes can be properly vetted.
As outrage over Trump’s action escalates, and amid scenes of chaos at American airports, Prime Minister Theresa May has come under increasing pressure to condemn the new president’s immigration policy.
And, today she ordered her foreign secretary and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, to contact their US counterparts about the travel ban, pressing Mr Trump’s advisers to exempt Britons with dual citizenship from the 90-day ban on visa holders from seven countries.
Earlier Mr Johnson tweeted it was “divisive and wrong” to stigmatise people on the basis of nationality.
Full reaction in Thursday’s Herald.