On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that restricts immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Libya — in an attempt to improve national security.
In short, the order states that people from those seven countries are banned from entering the United States for 90 days, while refugees are banned for 120 days.
The new policy has already made an impact on roughly 100 to 200 people who were held at American airports this weekend as, according to CNN, “travelers who fit the ban's criteria and were already in the air headed for the US on Friday afternoon when Trump signed the executive order were stopped and detained upon arrival at US airports. Others with valid visas and airline tickets were prevented from boarding planes destined for the US -- some stranded in foreign countries -- as airlines and foreign airport officials scrambled to understand and comply with the new US immigration policy.”
Trump’s executive order is a controversial measure as it’s seen as a policy that targets a particular religion, and protesters sprang up all over the country Saturday to voice their displeasure.
Former Arizona Wildcat and current Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — who is Muslim himself — expressed his concern, too.
Here is some of what an emotional Hollis-Jefferson had to say on the matter, via the New York Post:
“I feel like this should definitely be handled differently, and I feel like more people should definitely speak up and act on it just because it’s BS at the end of the day.
“We try to teach people not to point the finger, blame a whole [group]. You can’t judge a whole group by one’s actions at the end of the day. And I feel like that’s not right. That’s definitely not right,. You can’t speak for all Muslims, because all Muslims’ hearts aren’t like that. Most of them are pure, really believe in a different way and a different livelihood.
“I kind of feel like things could be handled differently. Me being Muslim, me knowing a lot of Muslims, it’s definitely, definitely heartbreaking to see,. A lot of my college friends are Muslims, and their families are in some of those countries. Just seeing that, my heart goes out to them, how they feel about it and everything. It’s definitely a tough situation to put people in.
“[Trump] making that decision, it’s just like a big step, you know? Super big. And it definitely affects millions of people, definitely, even ones that aren’t Muslim. People have a heart, people care. It’s just sad to see.”
As Hollis-Jefferson alluded to, the immigration ban affects more than 130 million people.
However, it is worth noting that part of Trump’s executive order was shot down by a federal judge Saturday night.
The judge granted an emergency stay for those that were being detained, preventing them from being deported as was originally called for by the executive order.
“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil," said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project (via The Hill).
The NBA actually reached out to the State Department on Saturday to “understand how this executive order would apply to players” in the league, seeing that some of them are from the seven countries that are included in Trump’s ban.
Hollis-Jefferson, a Philadelphia native, isn’t one of those players, but the ban clearly affects him personally nonetheless, and it takes some courage for him to make a public statement about it.
When professional athletes make public comments about things going on outside the world of sports, they’re often met with criticism (like the old “stick to sports” argument), but obviously that did not deter Hollis-Jefferson from sharing his thoughts on the matter.
Regardless if you agree with Hollis-Jefferson on the matter or not, it’s still important to respect his right to express his opinion.
People can say what they want, but being denied ACCESS to see your grandchild graduate or to go back to your country is inhumane. #MuslimBan— R.HollisJefferson (@RondaeHJ24) January 29, 2017
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