MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Former President Barack Obama is “heartened” by the “level of engagement” taking place following his predecessor’s executive order imposing a travel ban on citizens from seven countries.
Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the former president issued a statement on the matter, saying in part,
“President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. In his final official speech as president, he spoke about the important role of citizens and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy — not just during an election but every day.
Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”
The president also rejected a comparison between President Donald Trump’s immigration policy and Obama’s 2011 action when visas for Iraqi refugees were halted.
“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
During the daily White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not comment on the former president’s statement.
Trump’s move to sign an executive order imposing a travel ban on people coming from seven countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan – has sparked protests around the United States including some in South Florida.
The order, signed on Friday by President Trump, states in part,
“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
“Being able to come into America is a privilege, not a right,” said White House Press Sec. Spicer during the press briefing on Monday.
The travel ban excludes “foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas.”
Spicer said the order is meant to put the protection of the American people first. The travel ban is in place for 90 days from the date of the order, January 27th.