Belgium announced its disagreement with Donald Trump’s latest decision on migration.
Prime Minister Charles Michel said: “We disagree with the ban on access to US territory for seven Muslim countries.”
“Belgium will not follow this policy and will ask for explanations through diplomatic channels,” said the head of the Belgian federal government.
“Migration policy is the responsibility of the US government and it is a sovereign decision,” admitted Michel. “But Belgium will follow the case closely to evaluate in particular the possible consequences for its own citizens”.
Trump signed the directive on Friday, but the policy appeared to be evolving on the fly. Democrats and a growing number of Republicans assailed the move and foreign leaders condemned it amid court challenges and tumult at U.S. airports.
The president’s critics have said his action unfairly singled out Muslims, violated U.S. law and the Constitution and defiled America’s historic reputation as hospitable to immigrants.
In a fresh defence of the action on Sunday, Trump said his directive was “not about religion” but keeping America safe. Trump has presented the policy as a way to protect the country from the threat of Islamist militants.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement that people from the seven countries who hold so-called green cards as lawful permanent U.S. residents would not be blocked from returning to the United States from overseas, as some had been after the directive.
The Republican president on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a three-month bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Border and customs officials struggled to put Trump’s directive into practice. Confusion persisted over details of implementation, in particular for the people who hold green cards.
The department said on Saturday Trump’s action did apply to people with green cards who were returning to the United States from the seven nations, while a White House official said green card holders who had left the United States and wanted to return would have to visit a U.S. embassy or consulate to undergo additional screening.
Condemnation of Trump’s action poured in from abroad, including from traditional allies of the United States.
In Germany, which has taken in large numbers of people fleeing the Syrian civil war, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and “does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion,” her spokesman said on Sunday.
Canada will offer temporary residency to people stranded in the country as a result of Trump’s executive order on immigration, Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said.