Immigration ban incites national resistance

Ryan Thompson

President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and imposing a 90-day ban on travel into the United States from seven nations Jan. 27.

This order incited protests across the nation, particularly in and near airports, in response to the detaining of passengers with valid Visas from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. One protest against the ban occurred at the Kansas City International Airport.

“We marched through the terminal and I would say there was potentially 300 or more people there,” said Octavio Rodriguez, protester in Kansas City.

Rodriguez, originally from Mexico, moved to the United States in the 1990s.

“As an immigrant myself, I am opposed to the ban,” Rodriguez said. “Essentially, what it boils down to, is Trump wanting to ban people based on religion, which is illegal. He also considers banning people from the countries that had a part in 9/11, but the countries that actually did have a part in that don’t have a ban in place. The countries he hasn’t banned, are countries he has business ties to.”

Rodriguez believes protesting serves a valuable purpose in society.

“We are exercising our right to come together with our freedom of speech,” Rodriguez said. “It’s important to highlight issues that most people are not actually aware of. Some people might not be aware that protests like these are important. You might ask what is going on if you see the protest. It raises awareness.”

However, for Rodriguez it is about more than just awareness.

“We just want to assure people that people in Kansas City are in solidarity with the Muslim community and the rest of the world,” Rodriguez said.

Sally Yates, former active attorney general, refused to defend the executive order, as she did not consider the order lawful.

In response, Trump replaced Yates with Dana Boente, federal prosecutor. Boente took office as acting attorney general Jan. 30 and upheld Trump’s order.

Sens. Patrick Roberts, R-Kan., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., both agree U.S. immigration policy needs reform and approve of stronger vetting procedures.

However, they voiced concerns regarding the potential impact the executive order may have on the rights of legal immigrants. They also believe Trump should work with congress and relevant government agencies when making major decisions on a national security policy.

Jerry Farley, president of Washburn University, provided a statement to the Washburn community regarding the ban Jan. 30.

In this statement, Farley expressed solidarity with the university’s sizable international student body. He stressed the value of the mutually beneficial insights provided by interaction between local and international students.

There are currently no students from the seven banned countries attending Washburn. However, Farley concluded with a reassurance that Washburn will continue to monitor the situation and support any students concerned by the order.

Erasmo Nunez, freshman English education major, voiced concerns at the potential reaction from the international community.

“I imagine that if other nations decide to take action against it that it could lead to very horrendous treaties and that stuff could happen,” Nunez said. “Right now we’re the only country pushing the buttons but if another nation decides to push buttons back then something could happen.”

Caitlyn Fuller, freshman marketing and management major, feels torn on the issue.

“Well, I feel like the way the media always portrays stuff just blows stuff out of proportion,” Fuller said. “With that being said, I feel like it definitely isn’t the best thing that could have happened, but based on the history of that area… he probably thinks that’s what would be best for the time being at least.”

At the very least, Fuller does not believe Trump signed this order as an act of prejudice.

“Every president has had to go through hard times and make tough decisions and everyone’s going to have an opinion on that, but it’s not made out of spite,” Fuller said. “That’s just his beliefs. We voted him in office and if we don’t stick behind our president, then we really don’t have anything.”