Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:01 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Labour, Doncaster North 6:01 pm, 30th January 2017

The US plays a role and this country plays a very important role, but that is really beside the point of whether the US should impose an indiscriminate and, as the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon—my hon. Friend for the purposes of this debate—said to me over the weekend, an indefinite ban in relation to Syrian refugees. I shall come to that later in my speech, as I am sure will other Members.

The second question is crucial: will the President’s actions make the world a safer place or a more dangerous one? My contention is that they will make the world a more dangerous place, and that on its own reflects our national interest in this matter. The third question follows on from that: what is Britain’s responsibility in speaking up on these issues?

I shall discuss those three questions briefly, but let me say first that Americans and, indeed, people in this country are fearful about the threat from ISIS and wider terrorist networks. Those fears are understandable and we must respond to them. There is no dispute about that. I support measures that keep our citizens, and those of the United States, safe, but it is not enough to say that we are fearful, or that our citizens are fearful; we then have to weigh whatever actions are proposed or taken. Understandable fears cannot be an excuse for the suspension of reason and rationality—that applies to the Trump Administration in a whole number of areas. The only way to understand the ban is that it represents the suspension of reason and rationality. Indeed, it has perversity, discrimination and divisiveness at its heart.