Thousands are concerned after President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries into the United States took effect during his first week in office.
The executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” also banned refugees for 120 days, making an exception for Syrian refugees, who were to be banned indefinitely.
At Santa Ana College, the travel ban caused some confusion among international students. A student from one of the seven countries approached International Student Program Specialist Junko Ishikawa shortly after the executive order was released.
“The student was concerned that their visa would be revoked,” Ishikawa said. Fortunately, Ishikawa was able to assure the student that their visa would not be affected by the travel ban.
In fall 2016, SAC enrolled three students from the affected countries, including two from Iran and one from Yemen.
Widespread confusion and outrage followed the controversial travel ban, as travelers from the seven affected countries were caught en route to the United States and subsequently detained in airports across the country.
For a short period, it was unclear whether even a valid visa or green card was enough to assure entry into the United States.
While the ban began to take effect, thousands gathered at international airports across the country to protest what was quickly labeled a “Muslim ban,” due to Trump’s campaign rhetoric as well as wording within the executive order which would prioritize religious minorities from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen after the initial four-month refugee ban.
Other students, although not personally affected, gave their opinion on the restrictions.
“Donald Trump needs to do something to get us together, not separate families and separate religions,” Mayan Castelan, an occupational therapy major, said.
Psychology major Ricardo Barragan feels the ban is not what the U.S. stands for.
“I don’t know why we would ban people when we’re all immigrants,” Barragan said. “It feels like we’re taking a step back from the freedoms that make our country great.”
SAC business professor, Ali Kowsari is Iranian-American and understands the power that the President has to enact immigration policies, but he has reservations about this order in particular.
“Could this have been done in a better way? Absolutely. Could this have been delayed for a couple days to make sure everybody was on board and they weren’t in the air finding out about this? Of course.” Kowsari said. He went on to compare the situation to a class scenario, “I’m not going to walk into a classroom and throw a hundred-point, ten percent of the class, pop quiz at somebody.”
The travel ban was blocked by multiple judges, which led to the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals’ unanimous decision on Feb. 9 to keep the block on the travel ban. On Feb. 16 President Trump announced plans to release a new executive order concerning immigration this week, after reviewing the most concerning sections of the original.
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