On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ceasing refugee admission into the United States, which also barred admission of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen).
In a recent BBC article, “Trump’s Executive Order: Who Does the Travel Ban Affect?” it was explained that the order, “brings in a suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days” as well as brings an “indefinite ban” on refugees from Syria. The ban also limits the number of refugees to be accepted in 2017. Former President Obama capped refugee acceptance at 110,000. According to BBC, Pres. Trump’s order sets a cap of 50,000.
In the same article, BBC also claims that any person arriving from aforementioned countries face a “90 day visa suspension.” It was also noted that certain visa categories are not included in the ban. Finally, BBC claims exceptions can be made on a “case by case” basis, and priority will be given to religious minorities facing persecution.
This order sparked much debate on social media, and encouraged protests at airports across the country. The ban naturally encouraged discussion across campus. Dr. Kristen Urban, an International Studies professor, expressed some concern for what America and traveling American students should expect.
“International Law is built on reciprocity and predictability,” Urban stated. “Nations have developed protocols over centuries of interactions. It is very likely that other countries will begin treating our citizens travelling abroad in a similar manner to the way our government is now treating their citizens.”
Urban also noted that Iraq has already initiated reprisals, and claimed that Iraq, “will not allow any Americans to enter Iraq for 90 days.” Urban expressed concern for American troops that are currently stationed in Iraq, and fighting alongside Iraqi soldiers in an effort to defeat ISIS.
Dr. Amanda Beal expressed similar concerns about the order, specifically commenting on the implications of the ban, based on the rushed nature of its execution.
“President Trump’s immigration ban was hastily put together, leaving numerous issues with clarity and problems with its implementation.”
In the same conversation, Beal also noted the ban was vaguely worded, and that it is concerning that Trump bypassed standard bureaucratic channels. She says, because Trump avoided these steps, it was “implemented haphazardly and inconsistently,” which ultimately left many stranded in U.S. airports and abroad.
Beal expressed much concern about the way the order was implemented. “That is actually more concerning to me than partisan debates” Beal says. “If this executive order is any indication of how Trump plans to govern, the real concern is not simply the impact on immigrants, but the erosion of a democratic process that Presidents have used to guide their executive order for decades.”
The discussion does not end in the classroom, however. A group of Mount students attended a peaceful demonstration at Baltimore-Washington International Airport last weekend in protest of the order.
Lina Guerrero, an International Studies major in attendance, says, “The protest at BWI was an incredible experience, not just because it was an act of solidarity, but also because you can learn so many things about people, and how they’re being affected by unjust policies that you may not be directly affected by.”
Guerrero expressed her concern about how the ban will affect some of her peers who are at risk of deportation.
“Jesus hung out with the outcasts,” she says, “we should ‘welcome the stranger among us.”
Trump proposed many policies on immigration during this campaign, this is one of the first to be implemented. Many are hopeful that moving forward, the President is mindful of how foreign policy has been historically implemented, and that he is mindful of Americans of all cultural backgrounds.