German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised President Donald Trump for the now-challenged ban on some Muslim immigrants, saying it is “not justified to put people from a specific background or faith under general suspicion” to combat terrorism. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said, “The Chancellor regrets the US government’s entry ban against refugees and citizens of certain countries. She is convinced that even the necessary, resolute fight against terrorism doesn’t justify putting people of a particular origin or particular faith under general suspicion.”
Merkel has herself come under increasing criticism in her own country, and neighboring countries, because of her policy of allowing more than one million migrants into Germany. Other countries, such as Sweden, Austria, Italy, and France have taken in thousands of refugees once the way from Turkey and Greece was opened up to migrants. Trump has called Merkel’s policy a “catastrophic mistake.”
According to Merkel’s spokesman, in a phone call to the White House, the German chancellor “explained” to Trump the requirements of the Geneva Refugee Convention about admitting refugees of war on humanitarian grounds. “The German government will now examine what consequences the measure of the US government will have for German citizens with dual citizenship and will represent their interests, if necessary, before our American partners.”
Trump and Merkel spoke by telephone on January 28.
Once Trump signed an executive order on January 20 that temporarily banned travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entry into the United States. All of these countries are noted for significant levels of violence and for harboring Muslim terrorists. Almost immediately afterwards, protests erupted at airports in the US where some persons from the targeted countries were being turned away by immigration authorities even though they had the appropriate visas and documentation.
A White House statement released after the January 28 call did not mention the US immigration policy but stressed commonalities such as NATO and the economic ties between the US and Germany.