“This ban is a direct hit on the concept of freedom,” Asif Arshid, vice president of NDSU’s Muslim Student Association and a student senator representing graduate students said. “From what I understand from my last year and a half stay in the United States, the foundation of America is freedom.”
Approximately 42 North Dakota State students, per the fall 2016 demographic report, are directly affected by an executive order signed into effect by President Donald Trump Friday.
The ban prohibits entry to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. The order prohibits entry to “immigrants and nonimmigrants” for 90 days following the signing of the order.
All of these countries are predominantly populated by people who worship the faith of Islam.
Understanding the ‘Muslim ban’
Media outlets, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post and Al Jazeera have proclaimed Trump’s executive order as a “Muslim ban.”
The text of the executive order does not specifically use the words “Muslim” and “Christian,” but Section 5B of the order permits the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security ” to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
As the majority of the populations in all seven banned countries practice Islam, the ban implicitly gives preference to Christians and other non-Muslims to enter the U.S.
Section 5D of the executive order placed a cap of 50,000 refugees in the 2017 fiscal year, and section 5C proclaimed Syrian nationals entering the U.S. “is detrimental to the interests of the United States,” and thus Syrian nationals are banned from entering the country indefinitely.
Section 5E permits the the SoS and SoHS to admit individual refugees into the U.S. on a case-by-case basis, “but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.”
“During his election campaign, (Trump) has attacked very negatively toward these Muslim ideologies and Muslim countries so, this is a direct threat to all the Muslims living in the United States and even abroad,” Arshid said.
“Even though the ban affects a few countries, most of the international students are worried because they never know when the ban could affect another country,” Eduardo Faundez, an international student who is another student senator representing graduate students, said.
Both Arshid and Faundez said the international community is feeling “very insecure” about the ban.
Arshid said for those stuck in the banned countries, in the worst case scenario they will be stuck in the banned countries with strong profiles they have built in the U.S. “They will easily get jobs in Canada or Australia, they can move in any other country very easily, in my opinion.”
Arshid added there would be very little loss for those banned and told not to enter the U.S.
“The United States is in a position of great loss. Because, first thing, it is going to send a message to all people, all immigrants … who are living in the United States ‘You are no longer secure,'” Arshid said.
Alicia Kauffman, the director of NDSU’s International Student and Study Abroad Services, addressed the issue Jan. 26, emailing students who are residents of the seven countries.
“We understand this may have many of you worried, and it worries us too,” Kauffman said in her email. “If you want to visit with someone here — or if you have plans to travel outside of the United States, we recommend you visit immediately with your international student advisor.”
Kauffman added individuals should be careful when gathering information on the topic from the Internet, as not all of that information is from a reputable source and some of it tries to instill fear and promote untruths.
“Always talk to us first and we can relay the most recent information to you at the time,” Kauffman said.
“We wanted to reach out to you and let you know that we care about you and we want to support you. We are here for you and your families,” Kauffman concluded.
Neighboring schools have issued similar statements as NDSU.
The University of North Dakota’s International Center issued a statement via its Facebook page advising students to not travel outside of the United States, even to Canada, until the full effects of the ban are known. The center added that it will send further listserv messages as more information is known.
The president of the University of Minnesota, Eric Kaler, issued a statement a similar statement to the U of M community, adding immigration and legal resources are available through the school’s International Student and Scholar Services and through the University Student Legal Service.
“Y’know, the whole world is protesting against this one, and this will affect not only American economics but also their image,” Arshid said.
As of press time, Trump has fired the acting attorney general Sally Yates over the ban.
“The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” a statement from the White House said.
The statement added that Yates is “an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” and that “it is time to get serious about protecting our country.”
The statement further said that tougher vetting for individuals traveling from the seven “dangerous places” is not extreme, but rather reasonable and necessary.
Finally, the statement proclaimed Dana Boente to be the acting attorney general until Senator Jeff Sessions is approved by the Senate to become the permanent attorney general.
As of press time, the states of Washington, Massachusetts and New York have filed suit against the Trump Administration, TIME reported. The report added the lawsuit asks a judge to throw out key provisions of the immigration ban.
“The general public is standing with us actually, they are protecting us, they are helping us,” Arshid said.