By Adelia Sindunata
Immigrating to the United States won’t be easy this year.
Newly inaugurated president Donald Trump has recently signed a controversial executive order that prohibits citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S., regardless of their immigration status. These countries are Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Since then, multiple courts at various levels of the U.S. justice system have elected to enact and uphold a block on the ban. Nevertheless, the fallout and fear initiated by the ban persist.
Being a college with approximately 925 international students, SCC is abuzz over this topic. In an email sent by SCC President Cheryl Roberts, all international students were recommended not to travel outside of the U.S., including to Canada.
Some international students expressed their disappointment at having to cancel or postpone their trips by writing posts on social media.
“Trip to Canada = cancelled,” wrote Tsztung Heidi Lau, an SCC student from Hong Kong, in a Facebook post with a screenshot of Roberts' email attached.
Ibrahim Osman, a Somali-born graphic design student, also expressed his opinion about the travel ban.
“Initially, I wasn’t bothered by it at all,” said Osman, “but at the same time, I couldn’t believe it [was] happening.”
Osman’s family came to America in 1996 when he was 7 years old. His parents took the naturalization test, which gave him dual citizenship in the U.S. and Somalia.
Still, Osman said that he’s not afraid to travel overseas.
“At a personal level, I know I will continue to live wherever I’d be returned to,” said Osman. “It wouldn’t be the end of the world for me if I couldn’t return to the United States.”
However, Osman agreed that “the travel ban sucks” because it would affect poor families who hope to find a better life.
“Somalia isn’t stable … These families will have to return to the life they want to leave and all of their hope for a better life will be gone,” said Osman.
Mohammad Khamis, a student and international peer mentor from Jordan, has a slightly different opinion.
“Even though Jordan isn’t one of the seven countries, this made me depressed and scared,” said Khamis. “I wanted to go back to Jordan in summer, but now I’m not so sure.”
Khamis believes that the reason Trump banned these seven countries is because they are politically unstable. Fatoumata Jammeh, the president of SCC’s Muslim Students Association, agreed with this statement.
“The people that are running out of those countries are doing so in order to stay alive, they leave everything that is familiar to them against their will,” said Jammeh. “So, for Mr. Trump to boldly reject them was really disturbing and against everything that America stood for.”
Khamis believes that this ban might be expanded to other countries. “In one decision, Trump banned seven countries — it's not going to be so hard to ban a bunch of others, too,” said Khamis.
On the other hand, both Jammeh and Osman doubt that the ban will be expanded to other countries.
“Americans are uniting and sending [Trump] a message that he will not divide us,” said Jammeh. “I think that Americans coming together during this time is clear evidence that what he is doing is morally wrong, and we will not tolerate it.”
Osman argued that this ban might be caused not entirely by religion, but also by other interests.
“Other Muslim- majority countries aren't banned; for example, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. To me and many others, this shows there are other motives behind it,” said Osman.
According to Samira Pardanani, the director of International Admissions and Student Services at SCC, “we are in communication with the four international students at Shoreline who are from the seven affected countries and have provided them with information and resources as needed.” Pardanani said in an email.
This number does not include those in refugee status or other visa categories.
However, Pardanani believes that international students from other countries will not be affected.
“It is understandable that international students who regularly travel to their home countries to visit their families have questions and concerns,” said Pardanani. “We encourage them to come and talk to staff in the International Education department and/or contact their consulate[s].”
Pardanani stated that SCC will “continue to monitor the situation closely and do their best to help students access information and resources.”
“It is wonderful to see the outpouring of support across campus for students who have been affected by this situation,” said Pardanani.