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Donald Trump remains defiant on refugee travel ban

US President provokes a global storm over policy

By Alicia Caldwell

A defiant Donald Trump has said he has nothing to apologise for after his travel ban on refugees to block "people who want to do bad things to America".

His White House chief of staff Reince Priebus added that the new US president's action "doesn't affect green card holders moving forward" and officials were using "discretionary authority" to ask "a few more questions" at US airports.

Last night, there was a growing global backlash against Mr Trump's travel ban on refugees.

The US president has temporarily barred citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries - Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - from entering the country.

Despite chaotic scenes at US airports, Mr Trump told reporters on Saturday the order was "not a Muslim ban" and: "It's working out very nicely".

All refugees have also been barred for four months but those from war-ravaged Syria are blocked indefinitely as part of a plan to stop "radical Islamic terrorists".

Well over half a million people have signed a petition to cancel Mr Trump's state visit to the UK, meaning it must be needed to be considered for debate by MPs.

The US president accepted an invitation to visit Britain later this year, where he is due to be hosted by the Queen and would be treated to all the pomp and ceremony accorded to a state visit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and SNP foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond all called for the trip to be cancelled.

The Labour party leader said: "Donald Trump should not be welcomed to Britain while he abuses our shared values with his shameful Muslim ban and attacks on refugees' and women's rights.

"Theresa May would be failing the British people if she does not postpone the state visit and condemn Trump's actions in the clearest terms. That's what Britain expects and deserves."

But a No 10 spokesman said: "An invitation was extended and has been accepted."

And Taoiseach Enda Kenny is facing calls to snub Mr Trump's invite to the White House for St Patrick's events in March. The travel ban is being implemented in Ireland at US immigration pre-clearance facilities at Dublin and Shannon airports.

The Green and Labour Party leaders are urging the Taoiseach to boycott the traditional gifting of a bowl of shamrock to the US president on St Patrick's Day amid a growing global backlash over the immigration crackdown.

Mr Trump confirmed last week that his St Patrick's Day invitation to Mr Kenny, originally extended in a 10-minute phone call last November, still stands.

The DUP said last night that they had accepted an invitation when Mr Trump was elected, and that position had not changed.

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has already said he would not attend.

He added last night: "I would urge the Irish government to take every step possible to ensure that these discriminatory checks and bans are not enforced at our airports.

"We should have no hand, act or part in implementing this ban.

"They should do so to stand against the dangerous principle and precedent of this ban but also as part of their duty to protect the rights of Irish citizens who hold dual citizenship with those countries who are facing this immigration ban."

Sinn Fein did not state whether it intended to attend the White House for the St Patrick's week events, but party president Gerry Adams said: "This arbitrary ban and the refusal to offer sanctuary to refugees runs counter to international obligations, equality and decency. Generations of Irish fled starvation, poverty and conflict to make a new life and contribute to building America."

"I believe that the Irish Government should not allow Irish airports to enforce this fundamentally unjust order."

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