Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:48 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns Conservative, Chelmsford 6:48 pm, 30th January 2017

May I begin by congratulating Edward Miliband on securing this timely and important debate? It is with a degree of sadness that we have to have it in the first place.

America has a proud tradition of being a nation of immigrants. People fleeing torture and persecution from around the world have sought refuge on the shores of the United States and, metaphorically, I suspect that Miss Liberty is holding her head in shame because of the events of last Friday. The Executive order is shameful and immoral, but, as I said in my intervention on the right hon. Gentleman, it should not come as a surprise to any of us. Throughout the campaign last year, President Trump made it plain that, as well as building a wall, he was going to ban all Muslims—not security threats, but a religious grouping. It was rather frightening, if one looked at the audiences to which he made that pledge throughout the United States—north, south, east and west—to see the reaction of the crowds. That shows us that not only is he honouring his election pledge, but he is playing to a gallery of people who are prejudiced in favour of this sort of action. That is very sad, because it will not achieve what I assume he wants it to achieve, apart from gaining a potential narrow party political electoral advantage with a core base.

America should be stronger together, and it should be building bridges, not walls. The Executive order will alienate moderate Arabs and radicalise further those on the radical wing of the Arab world, at a time when we should be building bridges to enable us to expose the evil and violence of some of the terrorists who come out of the middle east, and working with moderate Arabs to end the evil threat not only to us, but to moderate Arab opinion in the middle east.