Of all the controversial executive orders made in the last few weeks, one in particular ,titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has caused significant rife in Washington, DC and garnered an emotional response from international students on campus.
The content of the order was not particularly shocking considering that on the campaign trail in 2016 Trump called for “a total and complete shut down of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
The stated purpose of the order was to “ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles.”
Written into the order is the concern that “numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student or employment visas or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.”
The order prohibits refugees from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for 120 days and refugees from Syria indefinitely. Additionally, it prohibits citizens of those countries with any visa (school, work or travel) from entering the country for 90 days.
Some media outlets have retitled the order “the Muslim ban” because each of the seven countries is predominantly Muslim. According to Pew research data, approximately 12.9 percent of all people of Islamic faith live in these seven countries.
Protests have risen all across the world in the week following Trump’s executive order. Several airports in the US have been the stomping grounds of protestors as well as the streets of London, Paris and Washington, DC.
The message shared at many of the protests was similar to one chanted outside the Los Angeles International Airport on January 29: “No ban. No wall. Sanctuary for all!” One conscientious objector, acting Attorney General Sally Yates, was fired by Trump after ordering Justice Department lawyers not to defend Trump’s executive order.
President Clancy sent out an email to all students and faculty on January 29 which said, “Learning thrives when scholars around the world are free to collaborate. As an academic community that is home to 1,047 students from 74 other nations, The University of Tulsa is troubled by President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order suspending visas for travelers from seven nations, including some nations that are home to current TU students.”
“The university understands and strongly supports the imperatives of national security, but it also cautions against measures that are overly broad and that carry unconsidered consequences that harm scholarship, commerce, individuals and families and the ideals of opportunity that have traditionally made America great,” Clancy wrote.
“TU is rich in diversity, and our commitment to humanity is embedded into our mission, which will not be compromised. This is why, today – and every day that follows – we stand together as one family, respectful, united and strong.”
“Any students or employees who have concerns about their safety or the wellbeing of any of our international students, faculty or staff members are encouraged to reach out to Pam Smith, director of international student services, or Earl Johnson, vice president of enrollment and student services. We take our commitment to campus-wide security very seriously and appreciate your input,” the letter concluded.
OU President David Boren and OSU President Burns Hargis shared similar sentiments to their students, encouraging students from the seven listed countries to avoid travelling at all until the 90 day ban has run its course.
Sarah Ghazi-Moradi is a Community Service Specialist for TU’s Association of International Students and has dual citizenship in the US and Iran.
“When the order was signed, my father was returning home from a brief trip to Iran to visit our extended family. Before boarding a flight in London, my father and a few other Iranians were told not to board the plane because of the order. It’s hard to imagine your parent being denied entry into a country because of an ignorant executive order,” Ghazi-Moradi said.
“Although I have dual citizenship, there is also a fear amongst many Iranians that I know that our dual citizenship will not be sufficient. Iran has been classified as such a dangerous target that sometimes we fear that despite being Americans, we will be recognized as solely Iranians, and subsequently a threat, in the eyes of our government and peers,” she shared.
Her greatest fear, however, is that her parents, aunts and uncles who now live in the US might be forced to leave as a result of this order.
“One of the most encouraging things from TU’s administration has been President Clancy’s immediate responses to Trump’s executive order and election,” she said. Ghazi-Moradi believes that “Clancy has already demonstrated that he fully supports all students of our campus, regardless of the political climate.”
Ghazi-Moradi is proud of TU’s International Student Services office and the Association of International Students for the work they have done to stem the effects of hateful rhetoric in the media.
However, “My hope is that social clubs and organizations work to further bridge the gap between international students and domestic students. If we could all join together as a united student body, and support one another, a lot of students would be less afraid of this administration, because they would know that they have a community of love and support behind them.”
For scared students like Ghazi-Moradi there is hope. On Friday, February 4, one US District Judge James Robart ruled in favor of Washington state, which sued the federal government on the grounds that the executive order harmed the state’s interests and residents.
Robart’s ruling, which applies nationwide, froze all relevant provisions of the order. Then, on Saturday, the Department of Human Services announced that in accordance with Robart’s ruling they suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the executive order.
However, this issue isn’t over yet. The White House has requested a formal appeal, and President Trump has sent out a barrage of tweets referencing the incident.
Those tweets include:
“What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?”
“Why aren’t the lawyers looking at and using the Federal Court decision in Boston, which is at conflict with ridiculous lift ban decision?”
“The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!”