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Toronto immigration advocates fear new travel ban will hurt refugees

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a new version of the travel ban Monday, leaving Iraq off the list of banned countries.

Donald Trump's first travel ban prompted protests across the globe, with refugee and immigration advocates voicing their opposition to the policy.

File / Torstar News Service Order this photo

Donald Trump's first travel ban prompted protests across the globe, with refugee and immigration advocates voicing their opposition to the policy.

Immigration experts and advocates are concerned the new Muslim ban signed on Monday will make life even harder for would-be refugees.

Donald Trump’s Muslim ban 2.0 halts refugee intake for 120 days and bans any U.S. visits from citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Libya and Yemen. It now exempts people from Iraq, as well as green-card holders and those who have permanent resident status.

“There is no moral way we can say that the U.S. is a safe country for refugees anymore,” said Emily Gilbert, director of the Canadian Studies program at the University of Toronto.

“This executive order only reinforces the anti-Muslim sentiment that we know exists in the U.S. and in Canada.”

Canada should be concerned about a potential echo of that discourse, she warned. Some of the candidates in the Conservative party have expressed similar beliefs, and aggressive acts against religious minorities have taken place.

Trump’s first Muslim ban prompted legal challenges and demonstrations across the globe, with many Canadian advocacy groups urging the federal government to repeal the Safe Third Country Agreement, which prevents people in the United States from claiming refugee status in Canada.

“We need the border open, because there’s clearly no fair refugee system in the United States again,” said Syed Hussan, a Toronto refugee advocate.

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