Story By Jessica Patton – Global News
Mayor John Tory took some time Sunday to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order authorizing a 90-day travel ban on citizens from seven countries issued Friday.
The executive order called for the barring of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States. The order has since set off protests across the U.S.
Tory, speaking to reporters prior to an event for Black History Month, emphasized the importance of immigrants and refugees to the city of Toronto and to the country as a whole.
He reiterated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance that all people are welcome.
“We are not afraid of people who are different. We embrace them because we understand that this country and this city have been built thanks to the fact that we have this incredible diversity of people who’ve come here and all brought something special to the city.”
“I focus less on his (Trump’s) order and what’s going on in the United States, and more of reaffirming the fact that whatever may go on elsewhere, whether its the United States or any other place in the world, we are a place that has benefited immensely from having immigrants and refugees properly selected through the process we have here who have helped to build our city into what it is today,” said Tory.
The mayor said he had been in touch with the minister of immigration Sunday morning to see if there was anything else that the city of Toronto could do to help.
Tory acknowledged he would continue to fight for more funding to accommodate any refugees and/or immigrants coming into the city.
“I just want to make sure that we send out that message that we will not be engaging in any kind of test of anybody’s beneficiaries based on their religion or their ethnicity or skin colour, or anything else its not the way we live here.”
The executive order has been met with confusion due to the vagueness of the language used.
Individuals with dual-citizenship and permanent residents among others have expressed concerned about how the ban could affect them and/or family members or friends who may be travelling to the U.S. or may be in the country at the moment.
Chantal Desloges, an immigration lawyer in Toronto, told Global News that dual nationals in Canada are allowed to travel to the U.S., as long as they do so on their Canadian passports.
“I would say if you’re a Canadian citizen travelling on your Canadian passport, it is a safe thing to do. But you should be prepared and understand that at the border, anything can happen. Even on the best day.”
A protest in Toronto is expected to take place Monday morning out front of the U.S. Consulate, which has announced it will suspend services to the public tomorrow in response.
With files from Erica Vella