Angelina Jolie: Trump's refugee ban is 'playing with fire'

Angelina Jolie, a longtime advocate for refugees worldwide, has penned a pointed memo to President Donald Trump about his refugee ban.

"Acting out of fear is not our way. Targeting the weakest does not show strength," the mother of six wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times, proceeding to debunk Trump's border security rhetoric.

"It is simply not true that our borders are overrun or that refugees are admitted to the United States without close scrutiny," writes Jolie, who is the special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "And in fact only a minuscule fraction — less than 1 percent — of all refugees in the world are ever resettled in the United States or any other country. There are more than 65 million refugees and displaced people worldwide."

Jolie's latest op-ed is a rare public statement from the actress since she began divorce proceedings from husband Brad Pitt last September, though last May she addressed Trump's "politics of fear" while abroad. Jolie's father, Jon Voight, was a vocal Trump supporter throughout his campaign.

In her essay, Jolie goes on to note that "refugees are in fact subject to the highest level of screening of any category of traveler 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."

She continues: "The truth is that even if the numbers of refugees we take in are small, and we do the bare minimum, we do it to uphold the United Nations conventions and standards we fought so hard to build after World War II, for the sake of our own security."

By sending a message that it is acceptable to close the door to refugees, or to discriminate on the basis of religion, she argues, "we are playing with fire," she says, risking "a free-for-all in which even more refugees are denied a home, guaranteeing more instability, hatred and violence."

Jolie also strikes down the notion that refugees granted access to the U.S. are inherently dangerous, noting "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, specialized medical assistance. "

The actress, who adopted three of her and Pitt's six children from CambodiaEthiopia and Vietnam, put her argument in the most personal of terms.

"As the mother of six children, who were all born in foreign lands and are proud American citizens, I very much want our country to be safe for them, and all our nation’s children. But I also want to know that refugee children who qualify for asylum will always have a chance to plead their case to a compassionate America.

And that we can manage our security without writing off citizens of entire countries — even babies — as unsafe to visit our country by virtue of geography or religion."

Read Jolie's entire essay here.

2017 USA Today


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