'Lion' 's Dev Patel on Trump's Refugee Ban: 'It's Utterly Devastating'

"It's devastating," Patel said during PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly's red carpet show

Dev Patel has spoken out about President Donald Trump‘s refugee ban at from the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

“I just flew in from India a day ago. When I heard the news, it was utterly devastating,” the actor said during PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly‘s red carpet show.

Speaking on the international impact, Lion, Patel described the emotional resonance of his SAG-nominated film.

“It’s so important, it’s a story about identity and roots, a love that transcends continents” he said. “A story I want to represent in cinema … about sensitive, soulful human beings.”

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The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Based on the memoir A Long Way Home, the Garth Davis-directed film follows Saroo Brierley, who, at 5 years old, got lost far from his hometown and was adopted by an Australian couple, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham. Twenty years later, after growing up with only memories of his time with his mother and his siblings, he began searching for his long-lost family using Google Earth.

“[Lion] is about unification and bringing people together,” Patel continued, adding that Trump’s refugee ban “really is terrible.”

Trump’s executive order, dubbed the “Muslim ban” by critics, temporarily bans any refugees from entering the U.S., indefinitely bans refugees who hail from Syria, and temporarily bans citizens from several seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The president also said in the order that Christians and other minority religions from Muslim countries should be given preferential treatment when entering the U.S. over Muslims.

Check out PEOPLE’s full 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards coverage and complete winners list!

Titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” the order closes the nation’s borders for four months.

For 90 days, visas will also not be issued to nationals from several Muslim countries — Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran. This ban would apply to anyone from those countries visiting the U.S., not just people seeking asylum or looking to immigrate.

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