Tensions on campus rise in response to revised travel ban


Anthony Clark, president of American Association of Airport Executives, speaks about the revised travel restrictions under Executive Order No.13780 signed on March 16. Photo by Miriam Mimi Madrid mayala3@msudenver.edu

Revised travel restrictions under President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13780, most widely known as the travel ban, continue to decrease refugee admission into the US.

On March 6, President Trump signed the new order, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry, as a modification of the first one signed on Jan. 27.

Six Muslim-majority countries remain on the travel ban including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Individuals from these countries can only travel to the US if they can prove they possess a ‘bona fide’ relationship with the country.

Jessica Compaore, MSU Denver senior and former officer for the African Student Union, said students from East Africa, mostly from Somalia, were frustrated, irritated, shocked and devastated.

“I want to leave college. What’s the point of being on the Auraria Campus? I can’t have my family here and I’m being discriminated for my religion,” Compaore said.

Parents, spouses, children and siblings are considered bona fide relationships under the category of close familial relationships. However, grandparents and other close relatives are excluded under the definition. Compaore is wary of the government redefining familial structures.

Leigh Eleazer works as the coordinator in the International Student Support office and exclusively helps international students who are F-1 and J-1 visa holders.

“Not a single one of my students should be directly impacted by this, but a vast majority of them who are traveling over the summer are very worried,” Eleazer said.

While Eleazer does not currently have students from the banned countries, she asserted that there are refugee, asylum seekers and immigrant students impacted by the ban on campus.

Individuals with approved visas such as journalists, students, employees and vetted lecturers are not barred under the revised order.

Anthony Clark, a senior at MSU Denver working in the Airport Infrastructure Management Division at Denver International Airport said the provisions rolled out under the new order were better planned than the chaos created by the first travel ban back in January.

“Luckily, President Trump mentioning this early in his campaign trail helped people think about the ‘what if?’ I’m sure airports were thinking about handling these situations with a plan,” Clark said.

Clark encourages travelers to stay informed, be prepared and communicate often especially when regulations change in the snap of a finger.

A visible change in the new provisions is Iraq’s removal from the list of banned countries. Another is the clarification
of the bona fide relationship provision. This definition came after a District Court in Hawaii co-petitioned with Ismail Elshik and his Syrian mother-in-law seeking entry into the country.

The revised order also reduced the number of allowable refugees admitted to the US from 110,000 to 50,000, and blocks refugees entering from Syria indefinitely. As of June 30, the State Department reported 49,225 refugee admissions into the US.

Data released by the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization, showed that no individual Syrians and Libyans have been convicted of attempted or realized terrorist attacks on US soil between 1975 and the end of 2015. Only 17 of 580 individuals convicted of terrorist-related offenses come from the countries on the list.

Although Compaore said President Trump and the travel ban is making everyone uncomfortable she does not think people should start turning on each other. Eleazer agreed that the campus should foster a safe environment for all students, domestic and international alike.

“All of us as educators have the responsibility to stand up for our students, especially if it appears they are being attacked,” Ezealer said.

The Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments on the case after their summer recess ends in October.

Author: Miriam Mimi Madrid

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