U.S. defender Geoff Cameron supports 'temporary pause on immigration'

United States and Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron says he supports President Donald Trump's immigration policy that temporarily bars people entry into the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries.

The executive order -- which bans non-American citizens from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria -- has been criticized by a number of U.S. national team players this week, with captain Michael Bradley calling the policy "the latest example of someone who couldn't be more out of touch with our country."

But Cameron told Sports Illustrated he believes a "temporary pause on immigration" is an adequate solution to the country's security concerns.

"I believe it's important to support our president whether he was your candidate or not," said Cameron, who spent time with the U.S. team's medical staff over the past month but did not take part in training camp because of a knee injury.

"I am pleased he is making security of all Americans one of his top priorities. Our enemies have stated -- and in Europe they have proven -- they will take advantage of lax immigration procedures for the purposes of staging attacks. A temporary pause on immigration for the purpose of evaluating and improving vetting procedures makes sense.

"The United States is one of the most generous and compassionate nations. Our ability to care for and support countries and refugees in need resides in our own sense of security. If we don't feel safe, how can we protect others?"

Cameron, who plays for Stoke City in the English Premier League, also asked for unity on the night that Trump was elected in November, tweeting: "The people have spoken! Its time for America to come together. We live in the greatest country in the world today and it will be tomorrow!"

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. coach Bruce Arena told The Washington Post the immigration policy was "certainly an issue" among his players as the Americans prepare to face Jamaica in a friendly on Friday.

He also said the policy goes against the values he has gained from his experience in international soccer.

"I think it's sad because one thing we do in our sport is that we are a global sport. We travel the world. We meet all kinds of people. And we conclude at the end that they are all beautiful people," Arena said.

"We have bad people in the world, we have bad people in our country, but clearly a large majority of people are good. It's fabulous when we can give them an opportunity to be part of our country."

In an interview with ESPN FC, Arena said he hoped that the U.S.'s international opponents would recognize that a difference in opinion exists.

"I would think that people in the countries we're going to play in realize that our team and our players don't represent values that we don't appreciate or respect," he said.

But Arena, who took the U.S. job for a second time after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired in November, also said it was not up to him to comment on political policies.

"If that's the case," he said, "this job has gotten a lot bigger than I realize."