In excess of 10,500 individuals have marked an appeal to requesting that President Donald Trump let white individuals in South Africa emigrate to the U.S. after the nation voted to strip white farmers of their territory without pay.
The petition calls on the U.S. leader to “take the steps necessary to initiate an emergency immigration plan allowing white Boers to come to the United States.” Boer is the term used to describe South Africans of Dutch, German or Huguenot descent, who are also commonly referred to as Afrikaners.
The petition suggests that Trump should stop admitting refugees from Somalia and the Middle East, claiming they “cannot be properly vetted,” and allow white South Africans into the country instead. They “can be easily vetted and also possess skills that make them compatible with our culture and civilization,” the petition says.
A similar petition, calling on European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May to allow white South Africans into EU countries, has gained nearly 17,000 signatures.
South Africa’s parliament voted to remove white South African farmers from their land in a landmark vote on Tuesday. In addition, the country’s constitution could be amended to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without any offer of compensation.
Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of seeing land stripped from white farm owners, with the motion passing 241-83, according to News.com.au.
The move was a key part of recently elected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s platform. Ramaphosa, who has long supported Nelson Mandela’s vision for South Africa, took office last month, replacing former President Jacob Zuma.
More than two decades after white-minority rule came to an end in South Africa, most of the country’s profitable farming land is owned by white residents. A recent land audit conducted by Agri SA, a South African agricultural industry association, found that white farmers still control 73 percent of the country’s profitable farming land.
Agri SA expressed concerns over the parliament vote, saying that while it “fully understands the need for land reform and the frustration with the apparent slow process and is committed to orderly and sustainable land reform…politics and emotion dominated the debate.”
Dan Kriek, Agri SA’s president, warned that the rights of all property owners in South Africa were at stake. He said that amending the country’s constitution property clause would be a step backward into a past where the protection of property rights was not applied across the board.
Ramaphosa urged people in South Africa not to panic over the results of the vote.
South Africa’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department echoed that sentiment in a series of tweets. “This is a serious matter. It’ll be handled through dialogue and in a stable manner. No need for beating war drums and creating unnecessary panic! South Africa belongs to all who live in it!” the CGTA wrote.
“As we address the land issue, we’ll ensure that equitable land is distributed to our poor people in a way that will ensure continued stability,” the CGTA added.
Earlier, the department had tweeted, “Land is our heritage, our identity and essentially our dignity. We owe it to our children to dispel the myth that Africans are not interested in commercial farming.”
NHTLdebate @CyrilRamaphosa Land is our heritage, our identity and essentially our dignity. We owe it to our children to dispel the myth that Africans are not interested in commercial farming
— NationalCoGTA (@NationalCoGTA) March 1, 2018
“We’ll continue to help improve the lives of South Africans through making tough decisions. This is a moment where we all need to rise and tackle this issue and emerge victorious,” the CGTA added, including the hashtag “#LandExpropriation.”
Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party, introduced the motion. He said the time for reconciliation in South Africa “is over,” News.com.au reported. “Now is the time for justice,” he said, adding, “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.”
Malema has been a strong supporter of confiscating land from white farmers, saying in 2016 he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people–at least for now.”
The creators of the petition demanding that Trump admit white South Africans into the U.S. as refugees claim that the “increasing murder rate, along with the campaign to dispossess whites of their history, culture, farms, property and jobs, will inevitably lead to a complete genocide of South Africa’s white population” if the U.S. does not “intercede.”
In October last year, thousands of predominantly white protesters took to the streets throughout South Africa to protest a string of deadly attacks in rural areas of the country. Protesters claimed that farmers were more likely to be murdered than the average South African, with some claiming that the attacks were racially motivated.
An investigation by the BBC last November determined that the claim that farmers are more likely to be murdered than the average South African “is not supported by reliable data.”
The BBC found that farm murders in South Africa are at their highest level since 2010-11. The country’s police service says 74 people were murdered on farms between April 2016 and March 2017, compared with 58 in the previous year. Those numbers, however, reflect the number of murdered farmers, farmworkers and visitors to farms regardless of race, the BBC notes.
It is unclear where people who are signing the petitions on Change.org are based. Signatories cite fears of a “white genocide” as their reason for signing, while others appeared to express sentiments aligned with white supremacy.
“I have family in South Africa who only want a safe place to live where the colour of their skin doesn’t mean their lives are at risk on a daily basis [just] because of hatred based on past historical events,” wrote Justine Beaumont.
There are no better candidates for immigration priority to the United States as these white farmers speak English and share a common ancestry to our own. I’d encourage everyone who’s aware of the situation in #South Africa to sign this #petition. https://t.co/tVHNbWEdwF
— Jeffrey Crofty (@J3ffDubKilla) March 1, 2018
“This is the most blatant case of genocide in the world,” wrote another person, identified as Bear Haltman. “Ignored by racists because they are white people.”
“I care about white genocide in South Africa,” another wrote. “We must secure the existence of our people a future for White children.”
A spokesperson for Change.org told Newsweek it would look into whether the petitions violate any company policies and whether the website plans to take any action.