Revised travel ban: 130 experts say it puts US interests at risk

Demonstrators gathering near the White House on Saturday to protest against Mr Trump's latest executive order on immigration and travel. Some states are arguing that the revised ban discriminates against Muslims, while critics fear that it will under
Demonstrators gathering near the White House on Saturday to protest against Mr Trump's latest executive order on immigration and travel. Some states are arguing that the revised ban discriminates against Muslims, while critics fear that it will undermine America's national security.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • In the United States, more than 130 foreign policy experts have denounced President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, saying it undermines America's national security and interests as much as the original order barring travellers from some Muslim-majority countries and refugees.

"To Muslims, including those victimised by or fighting against ISIS, it will send a message that reinforces the propaganda... that falsely claim the United States is at war with Islam," read the letter written by former government officials and experts.

"Welcoming Muslim refugees and travellers, by contrast, exposes the lies of terrorists and counters their warped vision."

Among the 134 signatories were some who had served in either Republican or Democratic administrations, or both, including former senior diplomat Nicholas Burns, former National Security Council counter-terrorism director Richard Clarke and former undersecretary of defence Michele Flournoy.

Most served under Democratic presidents, including former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former National Counterterrorism Centre director Matthew Olsen.

SENDING WRONG MESSAGE

To Muslims, including those victimised by or fighting against ISIS, it will send a message that reinforces the propaganda... that falsely claim the United States is at war with Islam.

A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT, penned by over 130 foreign policy experts in the US.

Their comments echo those being made in court by US states claiming that the modified measures discriminate against Muslims and are detrimental to American interests.

"Bans like those included in this order are harmful to US national security and beneath the dignity of our great nation," the letter read.

The revised directive temporarily closes American borders to all refugees and citizens from six mainly Muslim countries.

It denies entry to the US to all refugees for 120 days, and halts for 90 days the granting of visas to nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Revised travel ban: 130 experts say it puts US interests at risk'. Print Edition | Subscribe