From his first day in office, President Trump has hurried to enact the legislation he promised during his campaign. From the executive order allowing his famous wall to the “gag rule” on international support for organizations which promote abortion, he has released a flurry of executive orders to accomplish his aims.
President Trump’s latest policy has been an executive order which keeps citizens of seven countries from entering the United States, even if they hold green cards. Further it suspends U.S. refugee policy to allow for “extreme vetting.”
This new order has been dubbed the “Muslim ban” due to the fact that the seven countries targeted are all Muslim-majority nations: Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq. Further, President Trump has states specifically his aim to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the United States.
Muslim seniors Tanya Syarnubi and Yasmine Ali reacted the news of this executive order. Upon hearing about the news, Ali recalled “this intense feeling of fatigue and otherness was deep in my bones.” The policy specifically targets Muslim immigrants, creating an unwelcome feeling for citizens of the faith.
Ali cites policies like these as the reason that she does not wear a hijab. She admitted, “Although it is slightly morbid to say, I’ve always known something like this would happen,” she admitted. Syarnubi described a similar feeling that “no one is truly free or safe from this order.”
Both students are personally affected by this policy as well, despite both being citizens of the United States. Ali had an uncle detained at Fort Lauderdale International Airport and is facing the possibility of her father not being able to re-enter the United States. Syarnubi worries her father in Indonesia will not be allowed back into the country to watch her graduate.
Despite the outrage and fear, neither student expressed surprise beyond the initial shock. Ali described, “I realized that it was just a more extreme version of previous vetting policies passed by Presidents Bush and Obama.”
After the initial reactions, concern for all of the immigrants and refugees now left without protection sets in. Syarnubi explained, “the fact that refugees were on their plane, on their way to presumably better circumstances, trusting that they’d be greeted with arms far humbler and accepting that those they just barely escaped from – that made me sick to my stomach”
Among fears and concern, a glimmer of hope remains. Following the order, many immigration lawyers left their offices and rushed to major airports to provide free legal services to anybody in need of them. Further, politicians and other policymakers stood up against this discriminatory policy.
Beyond the legal help, many protested the order, including another march in Washington D.C. and protests outside of airports themselves. Ali remembered, “one thing that has truly shocked me to the point of bringing me to tears is the amount of people who went out and protested on the behalf of the muslims detained at airports.” Syarnubi summarized, “that is what America truly stands for.”
Both students ended with a concern for the future. Syarnubi hoped for a deceleration in President Trumps new policies, stating, “If all of this occurred within a week of his presidency, I would be lying if I said I’m not frightened for what is to come in the next four years.”
Drawing on the courage of the many protestors and lawyers offering their support to immigrants, refugees, and marginalized groups, Ali demanded, “If you want change, actual, real, tangible change, then you must set aside the ideals and norms ingrained in you and work until change has been created. It will not be easy, it will not be quick, but it will last.”
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Taylor Balfour of Richard Montgomery High School