CNN: “Trump: Immigration is ‘changing the culture’ of Europe”

by Joseph McKeown

Last week during President Trump’s trip to Europe for a NATO summit and to England—where he was met with hundreds of thousands of protestors—for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, the president spoke out against immigration in Europe and the United States. At a news conference, Trump claimed that immigration was a "negative thing" and that it was hurting Germany and other parts of Europe, seemingly referring to refugees who have fled to Europe from Syria and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. “I think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture, you are changing a lot of things, you are changing security,” Trump said. President Trump additionally complained about undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico to the US: “We have laws that are so bad that I don’t even call them laws…You walk across the border, you put one foot on the land, and now you are tied up in a lawsuit for five years, it’s the craziest thing anyone has ever seen.”

In response, Prime Minister May spoke favorable about immigration to England: “The UK has a proud history of welcoming people who are fleeing persecution to our country…We have a proud history of welcoming people who want to come to our country to contribute to our economy and contribute to our society.” She added: “Over the years, overall, immigration has been good for the UK. It has brought people with different backgrounds, different outlooks here to the UK.” 

In England as Trump met with political leaders, including the Queen, protests were held throughout the country. The anti-Trump protest in London was one of the biggest London has seen since demonstrations against the war in Iraq. Protestors paraded a giant “Trump Baby” balloon (which may soon be coming to the US) outside of British Parliament in London. Protestors cited Trump’s stance on woman’s rights and the zero-tolerance policy that has separated thousands of immigrant children from their parents as to why they were out in force. Despite the steel fences and concrete bollards placed around the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, where President Trump spent a night, protestors attempted to keep President Trump awake in an "all night noise protest" by banging pots and drums and blowing plastic horns.

“I’m here because I think Donald Trump is the most destructive force in the world today,” John Malone, a retired teacher, tells CNN at the London protest. Protests also took place in Glasgow and Manchester. Protests continued against the president in Edinburgh, Scotland, where demonstrators marched from the Scottish Parliament past the US Consulate in Edinburgh to a large park, calling the protest the “Carnival of Resistance.”

Thousands of protestors also greeted Trump when he traveled to Finland for the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Human rights groups, environmentalist groups, and more marched through Helsinki to speak out against Trump’s policy of separating families at the US/Mexico border, as well as his decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord. Billboards welcomed President Trump and Putin, including one that said: “Mr President, welcome to the land of free press.” Hemmo Siponen, a protester, tells the Guardian: “I support open dialogue. But that should be done in the open. I don’t want backdoor talks to be held here.”