U.N. chief says Trump travel ban ‘not best way to protect U.S.’

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By Ned Parker

<span class="articleLocation”>U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on
Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions
on people with passports from seven countries and a freeze on
refugee resettlement was “not the best way to protect the U.S.”
and should be lifted sooner than later.

Guterres’ comments were his first to directly address
Trump’s signing of an executive order last Friday on immigration
amid a drumbeat of criticism from around the world and protests.

The order put a 120-day halt on the U.S. refugee program,
barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and imposed a 90-day
suspension on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries –
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The White House has described the order as necessary “to
protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign
nationals admitted to the United States.”

But Guterres told reporters on Wednesday that “this is not
the way to best protect the U.S. or any other country in
relation to the serious concerns that exist about possible
terrorist infiltration.

“I think that these measures should be removed sooner rather
than later,” said Guterres, who has issued a series of comments
since Friday about the importance of protecting refugees and the
dangers of broad-based travel bans.

Guterres said travel bans risked playing to the advantage of
terrorist organizations seeking to recruit members.

“If a global terrorist organization will try to attack any
country like the United States, they will probably not come with
people with passports from those countries that are hot spots of
conflict today,” he said.

He said such groups were likely to use people for attacks
traveling on the passports of “developed and credible
countries,” or who had been living in the United States or other
countries for decades.

A panel of U.N. human rights experts urged the Trump
administration on Wednesday to protect people fleeing war and
persecution, and said the executive order contravened
international humanitarian and human rights laws. Critics of the
order inside the United States have described it as
unconstitutional and several states have sued to challenge the
travel ban.

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