'As the mother of six children, who were all born in foreign lands and are proud American citizens, I very much want our country to be safe for them, and all our nation’s children.'
This week, everyone’s been talking about President Donald Trump’s US Travel Ban and what it means for freedom of movement and for immigration.
And, yesterday saw activist, actress, filmmaker and mother of six, Angelina Jolie, who recently divorced from Brad Pitt, publish her views on the matter in a heartfelt opinion piece written for the New York Times.
In it, she says, ‘Refugees are men, women and children caught in the fury of war, or the cross hairs of persecution. Far from being terrorists, they are often the victims of terrorism themselves.
I’m proud of our country’s history of giving shelter to the most vulnerable people. 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 United States 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.
The global refugee crisis and the threat from terrorism make it entirely justifiable that we consider how best to secure our borders. Every government must balance the needs of its citizens with its international responsibilities. But our response must be measured and should be based on facts, not fear.
As the mother of six children, who were all born in foreign lands and are proud American citizens, 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. And that 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.
It is simply not true that our borders are overrun or that refugees are admitted to the United States without close scrutiny.’
Angelina then goes into detail about the actual screenings refugees have to go through before entering the United States, highlighting that most are survivors or abuse or people in need of urgent medical care. The actress also highlights that ‘we are already living through the worst refugee crisis since World War II. There are countries in Africa and the Middle East bursting at the seams with refugees. For generations American diplomats have joined the United Nations in urging those countries to keep their borders open, and to uphold international standards on the treatment of refugees. Many do just that with exemplary generosity.’
She concluded her piece with: ‘We all want to keep our country safe. So we must look to the sources of the terrorist threat — to the conflicts that give space and oxygen to groups like the Islamic State, and the despair and lawlessness on which they feed. 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.’
Read the whole piece here on the New York Times