Trump travel ban reaction: ‘Syrian refugees…have been vetted more than Trump’s cabinet picks’

Click to play video: 'Calgary immigration lawyer weighs in on US President Donald Trump’s travel ban'
Calgary immigration lawyer weighs in on US President Donald Trump’s travel ban
WATCH ABOVE: Immigration Lawyer Raj Sharma joins Global Calgary to discuss the implications of new laws in the US, which includes a ban for those seeking refuge from seven Muslim-majority countries – Jan 30, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s unprecedented executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries has led to mass bewilderment, according to a Calgary immigration lawyer who works with refugees.

“If you look at the United States, the country itself was founded as a haven for people fearing religious persecution from Europe –so the U.S. [reputation] as this sort of haven or safe place is right from its founding days,” Raj Sharma said Monday.

“There’s a lot of sort of scapegoating or targeting of certain groups or immigrant groups or certain types of refugees. I want to make it very clear: immigrants as a whole commit less crimes than native-born populations in both Canada and the U.S.”

Watch below: Calgary’s Syrian community troubled by the ‘extreme vetting’ of refugees. Tracy Nagai reports.

Click to play video: 'Calgary’s Syrian community troubled by ‘extreme vetting’ of refugees'
Calgary’s Syrian community troubled by ‘extreme vetting’ of refugees

Sharma suggested the process of Syrian refugees coming into Canada and the U.S. to escape violence and persecution has been more transparent than the U.S. president’s own actions.

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“They’ve been vetted more than Trump’s cabinet picks and that process has been more transparent than Trump himself. Trump hasn’t even released his tax returns.”

Trump’s order halted immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and stopped the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.

But Sharma said the order spurred widespread confusion.

“An eight-year-old with a crayon probably could have executed this executive order better than what we’ve seen,” Sharma said. “Green cards are affected. That’s 500,000 American permanent residents that have the right to live and exit and re-enter and work in the U.S. and apparently they’re affected.”

Sharma said the executive order was drafted in such a way that it would cover dual Canadian nationals from the seven countries, including “Iranians that left a very authoritarian regime decades ago” as well as Somalians.

“One of those would be our current minister of immigration that was just appointed a few days ago who was born in Somalia.”

READ MORE: Canadians with dual citizenship won’t be affected by Donald Trump travel ban

The government has since clarified dual national from Canada will not be barred from entry to the U.S., even though some already have.

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 READ MORE: Alberta biomedical engineer with Canadian permanent resident card denied entry to U.S.

“We know that the half-million green card holders of these seven countries—apparently they’re not going to be subject to additional measures.”

Sharma pointed to Trump’s predecessor as at least partially responsible for the ban.

“President Trump is a real estate developer; you might be able to give him some leeway in terms of superficial acts, but President Obama was a constitutional law prof. He’s the guy that opened up the Pandora’s Box to these executive orders that have run amok.

READ MORE: More US federal judges halt enforcement of Donald Trump travel ban

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