Lakers forward Luol Deng comments on travel ban
Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng says he wants to speak up and represent people who are affected by President Donald Trump's immigration travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries.
Trump's order banned travel from citizens of seven countries in which the population is predominantly Muslim—Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somali—from coming into the United States. The ban sparked protests from citizens in major American cities.
"I know for a lot of refugees, they can't speak up or they can never be heard," Deng said after the Lakers game against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday,
"A lot of these people go through a lot of things that they have no control of. To really see a light at the end of the tunnel and to go toward that light and then that light is turned off is very difficult, not just individually, but for the family."
Deng and his family fled Sudan when he was a child.
"I remember when I was a kid, as a refugee in Egypt, every day, there was always a hope that we'd get to leave tomorrow and we'd get to go somewhere," Deng said. "You never knew where, but we just wanted somewhere where we could have an opportunity to make something out of it. That opportunity came five years later. Now, I'm thankful for growing up in Egypt, and I've learned a lot, but at the same time, I know what it feels like to wait for that opportunity to come every day."
Deng pointed out that refugees haven't been complicit in any fatal terror attacks against the United States.
“If you really want to look into that, you’ve got to go into facts and what is true and what is not,” Deng said. “I mean, from what I understand, I haven’t seen a lot of refugees committing terrorist acts in this country.”
Deng's teammate Will Barton also criticized Trump's executive order, which he identified as just one issue he felt passionately about.
"It’s hard not to keep up with it. I try not to get political, but s---, it’s happening right in front of our face. I have my personal opinion about things. Lot of things going on in the country I don’t agree with. We gotta make it a better place because right now there are a lot of issues: the President and the Muslim ban and police killing people," Barton told SI.com. "We’ve got a lot of issues. It’s hard to zero in on just one. I’m not into politics, but certain stuff is right there in your face."
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