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Phoenix Arab Leaders Confront Trump Executive Action

(Photo by Matthew Casey, KJZZ)
Local Arab leaders met Monday in Phoenix to discuss the impact of President Donald Trump's most recent executive order on immigration.

Local Arab leaders met Monday night to decide how to respond to President Donald Trump’s most recent executive order on immigration.

The president moved last week to block people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. On Saturday, a federal judge halted the president’s plan. 

But local leaders are still concerned about the impact on the Arab community.

Trump’s action could erase progress made on the relationship with law enforcement, said Mohammed Riyad, chairman of the Phoenix Police Department’s Arab Advisory Board.

“The feeling, the sentiment that is going on in our community right now, is this president does not like us, wants to isolate us, does not consider us full American,” Riyad said. “So that makes our mission much more difficult.”

The meeting lasted for more than an hour. Ten men with ties to at least seven countries debated how to respond to Trump’s action. Many in the group oppose the president, but others support him.

“This is a short-term solution until the process is vetted,” said Wesam Saleh, who was born in Egypt and voted for Trump. “And until we have [a] better process to legalize people. Until we have a better process to investigate people. Because obviously what we have doesn’t work.”

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.