Southwark’s London Assembly member has described US President Donald Trump’s attempted travel ban as “cruel and discriminatory”, and said residents potentially affected were “welcome here”.
The controversial ban applies to seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
President Trump’s Executive Order, which has been temporarily halted subject to further legal proceedings, stops any individual who was born in – and is travelling from – one of these countries from entering the United States.
There are 3,006 people born in one of the seven countries living in Southwark, with over 1,600 from Somalia and over 560 from Iran.
People born in one of the banned countries and living in Southwark will not be directly affected unless they travel from their country of birth directly to the USA on a banned passport.
However, many have friends and relatives who are affected and those who travel often, such as business people, are facing difficulties.
“It is vital that we, in the most diverse city in the world, make it absolutely clear that we condemn the recent travel restrictions implemented by Donald Trump,” said Florence Eshalomi, Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly member.
“The travel ban is cruel and discriminatory. It panders to people’s fear and prejudice, and can make people born in those countries feel targeted and discriminated against.
“I want to send a clear message to those living in Southwark who were born in one of the so-called ‘banned’ countries: you are welcome here.
“The Government’s response to it has been feeble, perhaps for fear of offending Donald Trump.
“We need them to unequivocally condemn the travel ban, and take real action to ensure our capital is not going to be adversely affected.”
A London Assembly motion, backed by Florence Eshalomi, welcomed the Mayor of London’s “immediate and unequivocal condemnation” of the travel ban.
It called on Mayor Khan to make representations to the UK Government to ensure that any future trade agreement with the US will be a fair deal for London and the UK.
It was passed by a vote of 13 to 1, with the Conservative assembly members abstaining.