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Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai condemned President Donald Trump on Friday for his executive order barring refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US.
“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” Yousafzai’s statement began.
“I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants – the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.”
Yousafzai rose to fame in 2012 after she was shot by members of the Taliban for arguing that women in her native country of Pakistan had a right to an education. She later started The Malala Fund to improve girls’ education around the world and, at age 17, became the youngest person ever to win a Nobel prize.
“I am heartbroken that Syrian refugee children, who have suffered through six years of war by no fault of their own, are singled-out for discrimination,” Yousafzai wrote on Friday.
She continued: “In this time of uncertainty and unrest around the world, I ask President Trump not to turn his back on the world’s most defenseless children and families.”
Trump’s executive order implemented sweeping changes to the US’ refugee admission program. It immediately banned all refugees from entering the US for 120 days. Syrians have been banned indefinitely, and asylum-seekers from six Muslim-majority countries – Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen – have been barred entry for at least the next three months.
Following the executive action, refugees and asylum-seekers were stranded and detained at airports across the nation as they arrived on US soil, because many of them were in mid-air when the order was signed.