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OU International Students Talk About Immigration Ban

By Ada Castro Madrid
On February 24, 2017

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

President Trump’s immigration ban sparked protests all over the country, as well as internationally. Religious, political and social arguments rise every day to give a new reason as to why this ban is negatively affecting the nation and its political relations with other countries.

Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are the countries that have been “temporarily banned.” However, journalists around the world agree with the fact that sooner than later this “Muslim ban” will extend to all minorities entering the country.

Although there are not many international students at Ottawa University that hail from these countries, the fear of not getting back in has reached all of us nonetheless.

Senior and Scotland-native Dariusz Aitkenhead believes this ban affects the country negatively in the social aspect.

“Overall, I think that it is an abuse of power. It has been used to boost a racist agenda that sets the country back decades. It has halted massive progress in terms of unifying us as humans that others have worked so hard to achieve,” Aitkenhead said.

He does not believe either that the order was put in place to secure the country.

“It is clearly not a move to boost security because other high-risk countries were excluded from this ban,” Aitkenhead concluded.

Another OU international student, Graduate Assistant Indu Kumar, offers some tips when traveling outside the U.S. as he recently just came back from his home country of India.

“Make sure you have a clean record (driving, academics and credit history), don’t work outside the campus illegally: You are not just risking your status, but also the other international students from the same university. Have all the documents updated to the current date. ... Be confident,” Kumar said.

On another note, several Mexican-American students, who chose not to reveal their identity, are also talking about the new immigration policy inspired by the same xenophobic rhetoric.

At least six Mexican-American students at Ottawa University, whose parents are still undocumented, live torturous days as the Homeland Security cars arrive to their cities daily.

Families who have been in the country for more than two decades feel threatened and anxious over losing the opportunity to see their children graduate if the new immigration deportation policy were to be successful.

Although several counties in California and Florida already stated they were not going to “arrest” undocumented individuals, the rest of the country has remained silent as “la migra” approaches.

As for myself, a Venezuelan-native student, it is nerve-wracking to go to bed every night knowing that I might not be able to apply any of the knowledge I paid for and acquired at Ottawa University due to upcoming immigration policies. In the last month only, according to The New York Times, 100,000 visas were denied to both domestic and international applicants.

This only tells me my future is in danger. It is heart-breaking to believe that I worked as hard as any other American student in the classroom to not have the same opportunities in the real world.

At the end of the day, we don’t get many options other than to wait with a Canadian visa by our sides. 

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