On Friday, Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” according to press release from the White House.
The order, which was signed at 4:42 on Friday afternoon, suspends the entrance of all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely, according to the White House statement. It also bans immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — for 90 days.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here,” Trump said in a signing ceremony at the Pentagon. “We want to ensure we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.”
Following the order, students and immigrants with valid visas and green cards were detained in airports across the world or even sent home due to widespread confusion about the ban, according to CNN.
On Sunday, Jan. 29, the Department of Homeland Security said that they would comply with the president’s order and enforce the new security measures.
“We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law,” the statement read. “We are also working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S.”
The order has been criticized and praised by political figures, the media and the general public alike, including former Attorney General Sally Yates who said in an announcement on Monday that the Justice Department would not defend President Trump’s order.
“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Yates said. “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”
Later Monday evening, Yates received a formal letter from Trump informing her that she had been removed from office, and Dana J. Boente was promptly sworn in as acting attorney general, according to the New York Times.
The executive order also sparked protests around the country in cities and airports, including the steps of Arkansas State Capital where hundreds of Arkansas gathered on Sunday to voice their opposition to the ban and their support of Muslims and refugees, according to ArkansasMatters.com
Similarly, students at Harding are feeling the impact of Trump’s order, including senior Dorothee Garcia whose parents and brother still live in Sudan. Garcia said that even though her family does not have Sudanese passports, she is worried about her plans to travel to Sudan for the summer and her family’s plans to travel here for her graduation in December.
“I don’t want there to be any complications of me leaving the country, only to face problems coming back for mylastsemester,” Garcia said. “Especially with one of my life-milestones, I’m worried about my parents not being able to enter the U.S. for my graduation.”
Senior Chukwuma Umezurike is an international student from Nigeria, and said that while America has the right to enact policies it deems necessary to protect its borders, the court will have to decide if this particular policy is constitutional.
“I personally believe that what has made America exceptional over the years has been its belief and practice in core principles and values which I think this recent order deviates from,” Umezurike said. “This order could have been less chaotic and less confusing if the appropriate interagency collaboration had been done properly.”
Garcia also said that she can understand why Trump’s administration would want to implement such an order, but does not agree that it was handled in an effective way concerning immigration.
“I think there are many faces to evil people,” Garcia said, “and inhibiting whole populations (from) entry and, to an extent, staying in the country, isn’t right.”
As for refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement on Monday that an estimated 20,000 refugees would be affected due to the ban over the next 120 days. The United Nations Human Rights Chief also released a statement on Monday saying that the ban violated international human rights law.
In response to the protests on behalf of citizens and immigrants who were detained at airports this weekend, President Trump tweeted on Monday saying, “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning,” but claimed that many problems were caused by Delta computer systems.
“There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country,” Trump said in another tweet on Monday, “This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!”