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Athlete drawn into row

Trump stands by travel ban as Farah joins protest

Mo Farah
Farah: seventh place (photo by Terry Murden)

Donald Trump is standing by his ban on immigration from seven countries despite court rulings and mass protests across the country.

The US President once again took to Twitter to issue his latest statement, saying the US needed “extreme vetting, NOW”.

Mr Trump issued his ban on Friday, prompting worldwide condemnation as travellers from muslim countries were caught up in new controls on their movements.

His chief of staff said only 109 out of 325,000 travelling, had been detained.

But there were huge demonstrations, mainly at US airports, and 16 state attorneys general have said the order is unconstitutional. Several federal judges have temporarily halted the deportation of visa holders.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah said he was relieved that the travel ban would not prevent him returning to his family in Oregon.

Farah, 33, who has lived in the US state for six years, was born in Somalia whose citizens are among those banned from travelling to the US under the executive order.

He accused Mr Trump of “ignorance and prejudice” for halting the entire US refugee programme and instituting a 90-day travel ban for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Farah lives with his wife Tania and their four children in Portland, Oregon, but he is currently at a training camp in Ethiopia.

He is a British passport holder and does not have dual nationality or hold a Somalian passport, but he fears he may be affected by the strict new controls.

In a statement, the athlete who won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the London and Rio Olympics, said: “On 1 January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm.

“On 27 January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.”

The executive order also applies to those who hold dual nationality with one of the listed countries.

Within 24 hours there were protests around the country and federal Judge Ann Donnelly, in New York issued a temporary halt to the deportation of visa holders or refugees stranded at airports.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a case in response to the order.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has told Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to intervene by contacting their counterparts in the US.

Initially she said it was up to the US to decide its policy on refugees, but her office later issued a statement saying she did “not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking”.

The spokesman added that if there was any impact on UK nationals Downing St would be making representations to the US government.

Mr Trump’s policy has led to calls to cancel his proposed state visit to the UK

A petition to stop it has reached more than one million meaning it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “We should make it very clear we are extremely upset about it.”

He added: “It would be totally wrong for him to be coming here while that situation is going on.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Any visit by President Trump to Britain should be on hold until his disgraceful ban comes to an end.

“Otherwise Theresa May would be placing the Queen in an impossible position of welcoming a man who is banning British citizens purely on grounds of their faith.”

Alex Salmond, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, said he thought the state visit was “a very bad idea”.

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