Panic, fear and confusion are widespread after Donald Trump’s seven nation immigration ban was signed into law and begun to take immediate effect. Students and faculty alike are shock that such drastic change was implemented so quickly. There are over 17,000 students currently studying here in the United States that are banned from any international travel indefinitely; that means they aren’t even allowed to return home to their worried families while simultaneously being unjustly targeted by our government and labeled a danger to our country’s safety.
Universities around the nation have issued statements trying to assure their international students and local ones alike that this executive order does not align with their core values whatsoever and that they will be doing everything in their power to remedy the situation. Even schools with little no student body from these affected areas were quick to send out statements setting themselves apart from the president’s actions. Protests have erupted on campuses in all corners of our nation, not only because people can’t travel due to these abrupt and discriminatory regulations but because this indefinite ban goes against every fiber of what the American higher education system has been grounded in.
America is known worldwide as a nation of immigrants; they make up almost 100% of our country’s population growth in recent years and flock to the states because they know that America is a land where they can come to learn and gain experience in an academic and professional setting, having their talents and abilities recognized and in turn rewarded. I think the melting pot of students in American Universities is a beautiful thing, without diversity of people we will never have diversity of thought and without that we are stagnant.
I currently reside in Denver, Colorado and am in the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver. I have received several emails from my school and the departments that comprise it, repeatedly condemning the president’s actions and pledging to uphold our university values. Many students here do not consider that to be sufficient and have begun protesting, drafting petitions, and reaching out to University Administration, all in frustration that this core government that was elected by the people does not seem to be operating for the people. Perhaps they have forgotten what their main objectives are supposed to be.
Earlier today a heated debate broke out between many students in my physics class regarding the legal and ethical backing of this ban. My teacher, herself, is an immigrant from South American and feels passionately about the subject so she let the back-and-forth continue. The debate continued and eventually honed in on the topic of whether or not this type of immigration ban had been implemented in modern history (excluding Hitler’s I suppose..) and before a conclusion could be reached, a quiet girl in the back of my lecture hall whose name I don’t even know stood up and said, “I don’t know a lot about the history behind these bans, all I know right now is that after all of this I just want to go home and be with my family, but I can’t and I don’t know when I will be able to.” It was fairly shocking especially since I think most of us had never heard her speak before.
Students across the country with similar situations to her must be so confused about how they came to be on a “no-fly list” apparently due to the threat of terrorism when just a year or two or even months before had been welcomed with open arms as being the bright future of America that they truly do represent. It is always disheartening when someone turns their back on you but it is especially crushing when they do so for no real justifiable reason at all.