Brandon Saad’s Syrian-born father supports Trump’s immigration ban

Posted: 06/02/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Donald Trump’s controversial ban on immigration and travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations has a rather unlikely backer.

George Saad, the Syrian-born and raised father of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad, is in favor of the executive order.

“I guess you can tell that I voted for Trump,” George told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with a laugh for a story published Friday. “But I can’t say I disagree with him.”

The order has caused widespread panic, led to worldwide protests, and has been deemed unconstitutional by virtue of several federal court rulings since the U.S. president signed it last week.

“I’m glad they’re upping the immigration laws,” the elder Saad said. “There’s a legal way to enter the United States; you have to follow the right channels. We’re a country built on laws. Let’s follow the laws.”

George left Syria – which is among the countries included in the ban – at the age of 18 to study engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He now owns a Pennsylvania-based development firm.

“The opportunities available here are not available anywhere else on the planet,” George told Mackey.

The Saads have helped 24 family members immigrate to the U.S. from the war-torn nation.

“Without (Brandon’s) financial ability, it’s very difficult to sponsor that many people,” George said. “There’s a minimum requirement the United States immigration law will demand from you. I could have sponsored five, six, or even 10 people. But I couldn’t sponsor all of our family members. That’s why Brandon stepped in and helped sponsor the rest of the family.”

As for the ban, it’s received plenty of criticism and legal challenges from civil liberties groups alleging it targets people based on religious affiliation. It will prevent visitors from the seven countries from coming to the U.S. for 90 days and stop refugees from being admitted for 120.

“If it’s going to take 90 days to make this country safer, I wouldn’t mind it,” George said. “They’re not saying we’re going to shut the doors completely for eternity. They’re saying we’re going to delay it for 90 days until we make sure everybody is following the proper channels.”

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, whose father moved to Canada from Lebanon as a child, and Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers, a Swede whose father is Iranian, both lamented the executive order when asked about it earlier this week.

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