With the stroke of a pen on Jan. 27 at 4:42 p.m. EST, Donald Trump’s ill thought-out executive order to bar immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries - Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen - took effect. In the days following the ban, anger, confusion, protests and chaos broke out at airports in the states and abroad. Many students and professors across the country have reported either being detained at airports or not being allowed to return the country, even though they had the proper documentation to enter the states.
This order affects many people, some who are currently here on a temporary visa including students and professors.
Potentially our own Sonoma State international students and workers could now be caught in legal limbo.
According to Bloomberg.com, “Trump’s immigration ban could cost U.S. colleges $700 million. The cost could be even higher if students from additional Muslim countries are deterred from traveling to the country.”
Although the majority of our current students may not be from the seven named countries, there is a very real possibility that more countries could be added to the list, and that hangs over their heads.
When students decide to come here for their education and the opportunity for a better life, for most it’s with the intention of becoming part of society, to contribute and be a productive citizen. The choice isn’t made without sacrifice. In addition to leaving their home country, friends and family behind, many members of the Sonoma State community now also face thepossibility of not being able to leave or return back to the states.
While many of us may not be directly affected by this ban, there’s a pretty good chance we know someone here on campus who is.
The uncertainty of what this ban means is sending shockwaves through our campus community and across the nation. The United States is the top destination in the world for higher education, something that we pride ourselves on. We have a hard time understanding how the White House could be so short sighted as to not see how this is not only bad for our universities all across the country, but it also fosters ill-will toward our international counterparts and their students who desire to come here for their education. Actions like this slam the door closed and say, “You are no longer welcome here.”
The impact to Sonoma State University could lead to students choosing to go elsewhere where to pursue their education. The hostile attitude Trump and his advisers are displaying toward immigrants and our international allies will undoubtedly have a deep effect and impact on whether students will chose to study here in the U.S. They also risk further dividing an already divided nation.
So where does this leave us as a community at Sonoma State? This past week, PresidentJudy K. Sakaki issued a statement to our community, One Noma Nation. In part, it criticized this latest executive order and called for us as community to “Please take the time to listen, to engage in conversation and to reach out to others.” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White also issued a statement on behalf of the students and staff stating in part, “When something threatens our ability to think beyond our borders and learn from the world as a whole, we will oppose it. When something impacts anyone in our CSU community – especially the most vulnerable – it impacts us all.”
The STAR is a student-run paper for the students and community of Sonoma State University and we, along with President Sakaki and the CSU system stand with all students, faculty and staff against this narrow-minded, fear-mongering, disastrous policy. The STAR believes Sonoma State is made a better place for having immigrants seeking higher educations, refugees fleeing war and persecution and those in pursuit of the true American dream of a better life.
We are a nation of immigrants, and the ideals symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, made up of different cultures, ideas and people.
What this current administration has done is to create unnecessary fear, anxiety, distrust and worry in our country and right here on our campus.
We applaud Sakaki and White for taking a strong stand in defense of immigrants from these seven countries, Mexico and other nations who are concerned about whether they will be welcomed here at Sonoma State. They will be.