The United Kingdom government’s response to a popular petition seeking to ban Donald Trump from the country seems to suggest that the ban could in fact happen.
The petition, “Block Donald J. Trump from UK entry,” has garnered over 567,000 signatures as of January 1.
Any petition on the Parliament’s website that gets more than 100,000 signatures is considered for debate.
The government recently responded, starting by saying it doesn’t comment on individual immigration and exclusion decisions.
“The Home Secretary may exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good. The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right and she will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values. Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly,” the government wrote.
“The Home Secretary will use these powers when justified and based on all available evidence. The Prime Minister has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump’s remarks. The Home Secretary has said that Donald Trump’s remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong.
“The Government recognises the strength of feeling against the remarks and will continue to speak out against comments which have the potential to divide our communities, regardless of who makes them. We reject any attempts to create division and marginalisation amongst those we endeavour to protect.”
The petition started after Trump, the Republican frontrunner in the U.S. presidential race, said he would consider banning Muslim immigrants from the United States because of terrorism.
A counter petition has nearly 40,000 signatures.