City and University leaders express opposition to latest executive order travel ban

Sunday, January 29, 2017 - 3:10pm

President Donald Trump at a rally on February 1, 2016.

President Donald Trump at a rally on February 1, 2016. Buy this photo
File Photo/Daily

 

The Ann Arbor community reacted negatively to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the travel and resettlement of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States that was issued last Friday.  

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor issued a statement on his Facebook page Sunday afternoon condemning the actions of the Trump administration thus far, saying people must stand up and fight the president’s harmful policies.

“Trump and his supporters have polluted something beautiful — the honor of the United States and its people,” Taylor wrote. “The world looking in, ourselves looking about us, we must now reasonably question the continued truth of that reputation. Are we in fact a decent and just people? Is the United States of America a force for good? Do we as a people have the courage to try to make the world a better place, or are we debilitated by weakness and fear?”

Taylor went on to say Ann Arbor was committed to protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens and all Americans. He mentioned questions of citizenship would not hinder this commitment, hinting at Trump’s most recent executive order.

Michigan has one of the highest numbers of refugees in the country, with over 2,000 Syrian refugees and 8,015 refugees in total. Ann Arbor is often considered a “sanctuary city,” meaning the city’s police can only enforce immigration laws in criminal circumstances.

“Ann Arbor affirms the principles and hard fought rights enshrined in our Constitution,” Taylor wrote. “Among these rights are freedom of movement and the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. We will protect and honor these rights. We will not stop the innocent and demand to see their papers. We will confront the criminal and protect the innocent, without regard to citizenship or documentation. Count on it.”

The University of Michigan community has also been vocal in its opposition of the executive order. While President Schlissel wrote on Saturday that the University would not release the immigration status information of its students, a national petition gained traction among staff and faculty.


Titled “Academics Against Immigration Executive Order,” the petition is a platform for academics from across the country to denounce the order on the grounds that it is discriminatory, places an undue burden on those affected and hinders academic progress in the nation.

“The (Executive Order) significantly damages American leadership in higher education and research … From Iran alone, more than 3000 students have received PhDs from American universities in the past 3 years,” a clause of the petition reads. “The proposed EO limits collaborations with researchers from these nations by restricting entry of these researchers to the US and can potentially lead to departure of many talented individuals who are current and future researchers and entrepreneurs in the US. We strongly believe the immediate and long term consequences of this EO do not serve our national interests.”

Over 4,000 professors and academics had signed their names to the petition by Sunday morning, and over 60 of those names come from University professors and graduate students.

History Prof. John Carson said he found out about the petition earlier this weekend and signed it immediately. He told the Daily he felt the executive order was an attack on not only his personal values and those that the nation was built upon, but also to universities worldwide.

“It will have effects on the international scope of universities,” Carson said. “You can imagine this closing of the movement of people, and eventually the movement of ideas in the end.”

Carson’s fear of what this new immigration policy might bring is echoed in the final lines of the petition.  

“The unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard-working and well-integrated immigrants fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States,” the petition reads. “We strongly denounce this ban and urge the President to reconsider going forward with this Executive Order.”