Former US ambassador to Australia condemns silence over Trump's immigration ban

Former US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich. Photo: U.S. Embassy photo by Travis Longmore va Facebook.

Former US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, has released a statement attacking president Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Now a chair of the J. William Fulbright Board, Bleich said: “I have never issued a statement condemning actions of the U.S. Government. But as an American, a patriot, and as a human being, I have no choice.”

“President Trump’s executive order banning all refugees from entering the United States and seeking asylum is illegal and cruel, and it violates the most basic tenets of our nation,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

“This land was settled by people seeking freedom from religious persecution. Barring access to all asylum seekers not only breaks the law, it breaks faith with who we are as a people.”

“I take no pleasure in condemning our nation’s actions. But the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality,” he said.

Read the full post here.

Back in October, Bleich said off-air he would move back to Australia if Trump won the election.

In remarks after an interview with the ABC’s 7.30 television program he told reporter Hayden Cooper: “I think that was about as neutral and as ambassadorial as I could be, Hayden.

“Trust me, Hayden, if he wins, I’m moving back to Australia. Find a room for me. And don’t air that.”

The diplomat had been discussing the final US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Bleich was nominated by former US president Barack Obama to become US ambassador to Australia which he served as from 2009 to 2013. The pair were also close friends.

Former US president Barack Obama and Bleich. Photo: Former U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich/ Facebook.

The executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Sudan as well as all refugees from entering the US has triggered major demonstrations and protest across the country.

Trump has defended his immigration ban by declaring “the world is a mess”.

In his first televised interview since becoming president, he explained he doesn’t fear the anger or backlash that has resulted from his executive order.

While European leaders such as German chancellor Angela Merkel and British prime minister Theresa May have opposed Trump’s order, Australian politicians have come out in support of the US policy.

Both federal treasurer Scott Morrison and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday declared the nation’s border protection policies “the envy of the world”, with Turnbull inviting others to copy his government’s policies, which ban asylum seekers arriving by boat from entering the country.

US president Donald Trump signing executive orders. Photo: Ron Sachs – Pool/ Getty Images.

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