Saying she was proud of “our country’s history of giving shelter to the most vulnerable people”, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has said in an op-ed that Americans have “shed blood” for the cause of human rights — a direct attack on President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban.
In an opinion piece to the New York Times on Thursday, the actress who is also a special envoy to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “Americans have shed blood to defend the idea that human rights transcend culture, geography, ethnicity and religion.”
“The decision to suspend the resettlement of refugees to the US and deny entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with shock by our friends around the world precisely because of this record.”
Trump on January 27 temporarily banned citizens and refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen to enter the US for a period of 90 days resulting in widepread condemnation and protests across the world.
“As the mother of six children, I very much want our country to be safe for them, and all our nation’s children. But I also want to know that refugee children who qualify for asylum will always have a chance to plead their case to a compassionate America,” the 41-year-old Jolie wrote.
Jolie adopted three of her children — Maddox Chivan , Pax Thien, Zahara Marley — from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia, respectively.
“We can manage our security without writing off citizens of entire countries – even babies – as unsafe to visit our country by virtue of geography or religion,” she wrote.
Jolie went on to say: “It is simply not true that our borders are overrun or that refugees are admitted to the United States without close scrutiny.”
“Refugees are in fact subject to the highest level of screening of any category of traveller to the United States.”
The actress also pointed out that only less than 1 per cent – of all refugees in the world are ever resettled in the US.
“There are more than 65 million refugees and displaced people worldwide. Nine out of 10 refugees live in poor and middle-income countries, not in rich Western nations. There are 2.8 million Syrian refugees in Turkey alone. Only about 18,000 Syrians have been resettled in America since 2011.”
According to Jolie, this is the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
“There are countries in Africa and the Middle East bursting at the seams with refugees.”
“‘America is committed to the world because so much of the world is inside America,’ in the words of (former US President) Ronald Reagan,” Jolie wrote. “If we divide people beyond our borders, we divide ourselves.”
“Shutting our door to refugees or discriminating among them is not our way, and does not make us safer. Acting out of fear is not our way. Targeting the weakest does not show strength,” she added.
Jolie concluded by saying: “We all want to keep our country safe. So we must look to the sources of the terrorist threat…We have to make common cause with people of all faiths and backgrounds fighting the same threat and seeking the same security.”
“This is where I would hope any president of our great nation would lead on behalf of all Americans.”