Last Friday, Jan. 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring the immigration of people from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, suspending most refugee resettlement for 120 days and indefinitely barring the resettlement of all eligible Syrian refugees in the United States. The affected countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The controversial order has resulted in much backlash from various groups, including religious organizations, academics and tech companies. It has also stirred fear and uncertainty among Muslim and international communities. In response to this order, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel issued a statement emphasizing the University’s commitment to protecting all its students — both domestic and international — despite pressure from the federal government. The Michigan Daily Editorial Board commends the University’s prompt statement following the executive order and stands in solidarity with our University’s students and staff who are affected by this ban.
We applaud Schlissel’s rapid and supportive response to the harm and worry our University community members may have experienced as a result of Trump’s action. The University’s statement reaffirmed its commitment to keeping students’ immigration statuses private and refused to partner campus police with immigration enforcement actions — with the exception of when absolutely required by law to do so. This is an important step in reassuring students that the University will stand with them in these uncertain times.
Trump’s executive order indicates a larger problem with the goals of those leading our country. It is fundamentally unacceptable to ban a group of people from entering the United States based on their background. We should immediately be taken aback by Trump’s actions when considering where he stands on basic humanitarian grounds and also when thinking about the goals of our campus community.
It is our job, as students, staff and community members, to recognize our goals of creating a diverse and inclusive campus community and actively combat forces that work against them. Through the language of Schlissel’s statement, we see a clear indication of the University’s desire to maintain the international community that has characterized our campus since the 1800s, both on and beyond the physical boundaries of our campus. Banning any group of people from entering the country, especially refugees, will stunt efforts to diversify our University campus, making it harder to thrive in an international setting and severely marginalizing important voices in our community.
We stand with all Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan, Somali, Sudanese, Syrian and Yemeni students, refugees and undocumented students in our University community who are affected by this order. More broadly, we stand with members of the Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African communities who may be fearful of future ramifications and legislation. Everyone on campus has the right to participate in higher education, free from fear, regardless of their racial, ethnic, national or religious background.
Many University organizations have reached out to provide students with resources and support during these trying times. The following is a list of resources available for further information and support:
· Support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals