Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, on Friday condemned President Trump’s executive order establishing new vetting measures for immigrants.
“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” Yousafzai said. “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, 19, issued the statement at about the same time that Trump announced his latest executive orders, including one that reportedly will suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days. The text of the order was not immediately available.
According to CNN, drafts of the order also bar “all persons from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen from entering the United States for 30 days.”
Yousafzai specifically addressed some of those countries in her statement. The young Pakistani activist, who now lives in Britain, gained international attention in 2012 when the Taliban shot her in the head for embracing education for girls. She has since campaigned for education rights across the globe and won the Nobel Prize in 2014.
“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 said. “I am heartbroken for girls like my friend Zaynab, who fled wars in three countries — Somalia, Yemen and Egypt — before she was even 17. Two years ago she received a visa to come to the United States. She learned English, graduated high school and is now in college studying to be a human rights lawyer.”
She ended her statement: “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.”
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