Alberta politicians voiced their support for immigrants and refugees on Saturday, as U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban wreaked havoc and spurred protests at airports across the border.
Issued late Friday, Trump's sweeping immigration order banned visitors from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Muslim-majority countries — for 90 days, leaving some travellers stranded in airports or forced to cancel flights.
The executive order was thought to include tens of thousands of dual-citizens in Canada, before the Canadian government said they were assured Canadians travelling on Canadian passports would not be affected by the ban.
After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted support for diversity, Alberta politicians followed suit, using the hashtag #WelcomeToCanada.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada— @JustinTrudeau
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley tweeted her support for refugees, saying: "Refugees enrich our society, making positive contributions to our communities, economy & vibrant cultural fabric.
"Alberta will welcome you with open arms. All people, no matter where they are from, deserve to live in peace."
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson joined in the conversation on Twitter, saying "the success of Canadian cities depends on diversity and openness — which we strive for everyday."
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi retweeted Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen, a Somali-Canadian and former refugee who welcomed 21 new Canadians on Saturday at a citizenship ceremony.
I still cry at every citizenship ceremony I attend. This is and always will be a place of sanctuary, safety, welcome and opportunity. https://t.co/X1GCTJT9zl— @nenshi
Former immigration minister and current Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney shared a story about a former staff member who was raised in Iran.
Kenney tweeted his disapproval of the travel ban, calling it a "brutal, ham-fisted act of demagogic political theater."
He called on the Canadian government to offer temporary residency for travellers stranded by Trump's executive order, and criticized the ban, saying it is "not about national security."
"Republicans in Congress who (rightly) challenged President Obama for making law through EOs should now challenge President Trump's EO," Kenney tweeted.
1/ Just spoke to a former staffer of mine who was raised in Iran. Immigrated to Canada at 14, he ran as a Conservative for Parliament at 19.— @jkenney
2/ He is so Canadian he has a maple leaf tattoo. He despises the Iranian dictatorship & would be thrown in jail if he returned there. He has— @jkenney
3/ renounced Iranian citizenship, & is one of the most hawkish people I know on national security & integration. He is running a successful— @jkenney
4/ startup in the USA. As a result of yesterday's Executive Order, he is now barred from entering USA, where he has created dozens of jobs.— @jkenney
On Saturday night, a federal judge issued an emergency court ruling allowing stranded travellers who were already in the U.S.. to stay in the U.S.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which sought the temporary stay said it would help 100 to 200 people with valid visas or refugee status who found themselves detained in transit or at U.S. airports.
Trump, who took office just over a week ago, promised during his campaign what he called "extreme vetting," saying it would do more to protect Americans from terror attacks.
He told reporters in the Oval Office that his order was "not a Muslim ban" and said the measures were long overdue.
"It's working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over," Trump said.
"We're going to have a very, very strict ban and we're going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years."