Students can take action against travel ban

Daily Evergreen Editorial Board

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One hundred and thirty six of our fellow WSU students’ lives are on lockdown. President Donald Trump’s executive order has forced them, and students across the U.S. who are here on student visas from seven Muslim-majority countries, to suspend travel to their home countries for at least the next 90 days.

WSU President Kirk Schulz sent an email to all WSU accounts on Monday advising the students from the affected countries not to leave the U.S., for fear they may be unable to return. Universities across the country have done the same.

For some students, the executive order will likely be insignificant. But it is already forcing others to choose between visiting their home countries and retaining a guaranteed education. This means some may miss weddings, graduation ceremonies and other events they previously planned to attend. One student will reportedly miss his father’s funeral, and another was trapped outside the country as of Tuesday.

The Evergreen Editorial Board believes, along with numerous judges and legal experts, that the ban is likely unconstitutional and categorically un-American. It plunges hundreds of thousands of innocent people into uncertainty.

The purpose section of Trump’s executive order references the attack on New York on Sept. 11, 2001, as part of the reason for this travel ban. According to the CIA testimony regarding the 19 attackers during the attack on the World Trade Center, the nationalities of the attackers were Egyptian, Saudi, Lebanese and United Arab Emirates, none of which are included in the travel ban.

This is not a valid reason, but a cop-out. It’s our president meandering around a reason he would rather not say. There is no merit to the executive order.

In a story we published on Wednesday, we saw the damage the ban has already done to international students and staff, and the damage it has yet to do in coming weeks and months. Besides immediate repercussions, visa restrictions may hinder students’ ability to find jobs once they graduate.

Perhaps most destructive is the environment the ban creates for Muslims in America and abroad. Many of the people the ban targets, whether explicitly or not, are valuable assets to our nation. As evidenced by hundreds of protests across the country and personal testimonies, they feel betrayed and humiliated by a government they believed would provide them a haven.

We urge you to call our local representatives, call your home town’s representatives and do everything you can to make them hear your voice. Be aware of what those representatives are saying; support those with whom you agree and force the others to hear your voice and your reasons.

Some, like Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, are working to counteract the ban. Others, like Whitman County’s U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, still appear to endorse it. Elected officials have been known to change their minds under pressure from their voters.

The same goes for WSU’s administration. The university has worked with elected officials to help the one student who was prevented from re-entering the U.S., but it will likely need to be accommodating of international students in coming months as they struggle with new challenges.

Make public displays of your support. Be peaceful, but do not be silent. History is developing around us. Be a part of it. People affected by the ban have said the recent protests for immigrants’ rights are heartening.

Beyond this, simply showing support can make a difference for anyone you know whose life has been suddenly upended. Every bit of basic human decency counts. Be a decent human.

The Editorial Board can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]