UPDATED with link to the full column: Angelina Jolie is the latest Hollywood figure to raise a voice against President Donald Trump’s temporary denial of U.S. entry to people from seven primarily Muslim countries. But while colleagues such as Meryl Streep and David Harbour have expressed their outrage from the podiums at televised awards ceremonies, Jolie enjoys a different bully pulpit: the Op-Ed pages of the far-from-failing New York Times.
“Americans have shed blood to defend the idea that human rights transcend culture,” Jolie writes in a column published this afternoon on the Times website. Once again painting the stark distinction between the actress – and mother of six American citizen children born in foreign countries – and her estranged father, Trump supporter Jon Voight, Jolie insists that “every time we depart from our values we worsen the very problem we are trying to contain. We must never allow our values to become the collateral damage of a search for greater security. Shutting our door to refugees or discriminating among them is not our way.”
Voight, on the other hand, spoke at Trump’s pre-inaugural concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial, averring that the incoming Commander in Chief, who “certainly didn’t need this job,” was God’s answer “to all our prayers.” He added that Lincoln must be looking down and “smiling, knowing America will be saved by a good and honest man.”
Here’s the opening of Jolie’s Op-Ed, which also will run in Friday’s print edition of the Times:
Refugees are men, women and children caught in the fury of war, or the cross hairs of persecution. Far from being terrorists, they are often the victims of terrorism themselves.
I’m proud of our country’s history of giving shelter to the most vulnerable people. Americans have shed blood to defend the idea that human rights transcend culture, geography, ethnicity and religion. The decision to suspend the resettlement of refugees to the United States and deny entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with shock by our friends around the world precisely because of this record.
The global refugee crisis and the threat from terrorism make it entirely justifiable that we consider how best to secure our borders. Every government must balance the needs of its citizens with its international responsibilities. But our response must be measured and should be based on facts, not fear.
As the mother of six children, who were all born in foreign lands and are proud American citizens, I very much want our country to be safe for them, and all our nation’s children. But I also want to know that refugee children who qualify for asylum will always have a chance to plead their case to a compassionate America. And that we can manage our security without writing off citizens of entire countries — even babies — as unsafe to visit our country by virtue of geography or religion.
It is simply not true that our borders are overrun or that refugees are admitted to the United States without close scrutiny.
Read the rest of the column here: