The Wandsworth Labour Group today called on Wandsworth Council to oppose President Trump’s temporary ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.
In a strongly worded Motion, the Labour Group says: “this policy targets people of the Muslim faith and is an act of discrimination. We call on the Leader of the Council to write a joint letter of protest alongside the Leader of the Labour Group to the US Ambassador, setting out the Council’s opposition”.
Speaking to the Motion, newly-elected councillor for Queenstown, Aydin Dikerdem, said: “Acts of discrimination like this have a global impact, including on our borough and we have an obligation to stand up and say we do not tolerate this kind of discrimination in Wandsworth”.
According to the last census figures, (2011) there are approximately 4,320 Wandsworth residents who directly originate from one of these seven countries President Trump has targeted: 900 from Iran, 2,415 from Somalia, 500 from Iraq, up to 175 from Sudan, up to 100 from Yemen, 130 from Libya and 100 from Syria.
Aydin Dikerdem added: “Think what it must be like to be a Somali, Iranian or Yemeni child at school, and the message it sends when the bully who is targeting you is the President of the United States of America. This ban has no real purpose other than to divide people through fear, and to exploit and normalise Islamophobia and we have an obligation to stand up and say ‘not in our name’”.
Wandsworth has a large Somali population in Battersea, close to the site which will soon be home to the new American embassy, lending this issue special local importance.
UK tech giant, Apple, announced last year it too would be moving its UK headquarters to Battersea. In a message to his staff, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.”
The Labour Motion also calls on Wandsworth Council to investigate how many Wandsworth residents are affected by the ban, including those who may already have plans to travel to the US to visit family and friends or for work and to provide whatever assistance is appropriate.
Labour’s Motion on President Trump’s ban on people from Muslim-majority countries entering the US
Council notes the recent Executive Order from the President of the United States introducing a temporary ban on people entering the US who are citizens of or who were born in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
Council believes this policy targets people of the Muslim faith, and is an act of discrimination which has an impact globally including in our Borough.
As a Council we welcome and value all our residents, of all nationalities, and we know that diversity is a strength of our Borough, and discrimination is not tolerated.
Council therefore welcomes the statements from the UK Government and the Leader of the Opposition opposing this ban.
Council notes that according to the last census (2011) population figures there are approximately 4,320 Wandsworth residents who directly originate from one of these seven countries: 900 from Iran, 2,415 from Somalia, 500 from Iraq, up to 175 from Sudan and up to 100 from Yemen, 130 from Libya and 100 from Syria.
Council asks officers to investigate how many Wandsworth residents are actually affected by this ban in practice, including those who may already have plans to travel to the US to visit family and friends, to conduct business or to work, or those just going there on holiday, and report this information to Councillors.
Council also asks Wandsworth Council to offer whatever assistance is appropriate to residents affected, including by liaising with Wandsworth’s three MPs and sign-posting people to advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Finally, Council calls on the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition to jointly write a letter of protest to the US Ambassador setting out the Council’s opposition to this ban and the impact it could have on significant numbers of people living in Wandsworth, the future home of the embassy, and a letter of support to the Government in their opposition to this and any future bans.