WASHINGTON – Former US President Barack Obama said he is “heartened” by American civic engagement against the crackdown on immigration ordered by his successor in the White House, Donald Trump, his spokesman Kevin Lewis said Monday in a statement.
“Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake,” Lewis said in presenting the first message from Obama since he left the White House.
“In his final official speech as President, he (Obama) spoke about the important role of citizens and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy – not just during an election but every day,” the spokesman said.
Lewis also referred to Trump’s insistence that his decision to temporarily detain citizens of seven mostly Islamic countries and stop altogether the admission of Syrian refugees to the United States is similar to a decision by Obama in 2011.
“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, (Obama) fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith,” Lewis said.
Trump has stirred up enormous controversy and has angered half the world with the executive order he signed last Friday as a weapon against jihadist terrorism.
The executive order bans all refugees from entering the US for 120 days and suspends the issuing of visas for 90 days to citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries with a history of terrorism – Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran – until new extreme vetting procedures are established.