Trump’s immigration policy has little impact on Indonesia, says Kalla

People participate in a protest against US President Donald Trump's travel ban at Columbia University in New York City on Monday. Image: Stephanie Keith/Jakarta Globe

By a special correspondent in Jakarta

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, deplores the immigration policy issued by newly inaugurated United States President Donald Trump, says Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.

The policy bans citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States.

However, Kalla said Indonesia would not issue any statements against the policy at the moment, as it did not have any direct impact on the country.

“The harsh reaction came from US citizens, as it [the policy] threatens their unity and basic values, because Americans are originally immigrants. For us, there is no great effect as we are not included there [among the blacklisted countries] but it can add more suspicions, especially against Muslims,” Kalla said.

The vice-president added that Indonesia would keep its doors open to refugees from any Islamic countries, including facilitating immigrants headed to Australia via the archipelago.

“We are open [in terms of] refugees, where our previous experience was to accept all – be it the Rohingya, or from Afghanistan – we accepted them,” Kalla said.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo earlier called on Indonesian citizens residing in the United States to remain calm, as the ban did not affect their presence there.

“We are not affected by the policy. Why should we worry? ” President Joko Widodo said on the sidelines of a work visit to Boyolali district in Central Java on Monday.

Widespread chaos
Trump’s executive order on immigration, issued last Friday, set off a political and legal crisis just a week into his presidency.

The order indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspends all admissions of refugees for 120 days, and blocks citizens of the seven listed Muslim-majority countries from entering for 90 days.

The ban caused chaos in the immigration system and at airports in the United States and overseas, which also prompted protests and legal action.

There were several protest rallies over the weekend against the immigration policy in several major US cities, including Washington, Boston and New York.

House of Representatives Commission I lawmaker Sukamta said he deplored the US immigration ban and he urged the Indonesian government to act as a bridge between the Islamic world and the current US government.

Trump’s policy seeks to protect the United States from radical Islamic terrorists and puts a temporary ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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