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Former Sudanese refugee Ger Duany, who’s now an actor and appeared in the 2014 film The Good Lie, is familiar with the plight of refugees.
He moved to the United States as a teenager after spending years in an Ethiopian refugee camp. The 38-year-old is now a U.S. citizen living in New York City, and he spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about President Trump’s recent immigration ban.
“I’m very distressed about it,” said Duany, adding that he thinks people all over the world are upset about Trump’s executive order temporarily barring citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Sudan, from entering the U.S. and banning refugees for 120 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.
Duany said that with so many civil wars in a variety of countries and with such a large amount of people fleeing terror, now is not the time to “close borders around the world.”
“Nobody would ever choose to leave their home and go places to where they don’t even know [if] they can find a home,” said Duany. “This is a problem for humanity, not only for American people, not only for African people.”
He said that being a refugee isn’t an easy journey and that he had to build his life in the U.S. brick by brick. “If I was not helped to get a resettlement to go to the U.S. and even attend high school and college there, I would not be where I am right now,” he explained. “I would not be advocating for refugees, I would be telling a very different story.”
The actor said he is worried about his family members, who are being affected by the ban. “My country is in a very chaotic civil war, which has been going on for nearly four years; my family is all refugees,” said Duany. He said some of them were planning on leaving in a few months to go to the States. Many of them have been kicked out of refugee camps and have had to move around.
Duany spoke with THR from Nairobi and is flying back to New York next week. The UN Goodwill Ambassador said he’s not worried about getting in because he’s a U.S. citizen. “Unless they decide to take it out of my hands, my whole life is there,” he said.
Trump’s executive order did not surprise Duany, and he thinks people should have seen this coming. “Mr. Donald Trump’s been consistent about how he would really lead the country. He campaigned over this,” said Duany. He said people need to try to speak with Trump and figure out a way to “make room for the people who want to come to America.”
“America is made America by all of us coming from all walks of life,” said Duany. “I think we should have hope at the end of the day. We can really galvanize support that can really change a life somewhere.”
He continued, “Refugees — hang tight. There’s a lot of American people that are really standing up to what we can do together with the new president. It’s not like we are here to just fight one another, that’s not the way to fix problems. We are here to work together.”
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