Angelina Jolie has responded to Donald Trump’s controversial refugee ban with a powerful op-ed in the New York Times.
The actress and filmmaker, who has been using her profile to draw attention to the plight of refugees around the world for more than 15 years, busted myths about refugees and urged America not to set a dangerous and cruel precedent.
“Refugees are men, women and children caught in the fury of war, or the cross hairs of persecution,” she writes. “Far from being terrorists, they are often the victims of terrorism themselves.”
As a mother of six, Jolie says she understands the desire to keep America safe, but makes the point that refugees are extremely unlikely to pose any risk.
“Refugees are in fact subject to the highest level of screening of any category of travel;er to the United States. This includes months of interviews, and security checks carried out by the F.B.I., the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department.
“Furthermore, only the most vulnerable people are put forward for resettlement in the first place: survivors of torture, and women and children at risk or who might not survive without urgent, specialised medical assistance. I have visited countless camps and cities where hundreds of thousands of refugees are barely surviving and every family has suffered.”
Since 2001, the 41-year-old has visited refugee camps in more than 30 countries, including Sudan, Cambodia and Afghanistan, and in 2012 after more than a decade of service as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador she was promoted to the rank of Special Envoy to High Commissioner António Guterres. It is far more experience than most of us could ever hope to have when it comes to the worldwide refugee crisis, and that includes Donald Trump.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order that put an instant stop to admissions for Syrian refugees and severely limits the flow of other refugees into the country. It has been met with outrage around the world.