On Jan 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim majority countries. Travel into the United States for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen became prohibited, and the order initially also included legal green card holders. While the Trump administration has backed off on the stance against green card holders, the poorly conceived and chaotically enforced bill shook the country.
The order targets Muslims in a way that is not only immoral and cruel, but is also possibly unconstitutional. It shuts out refugees from war-torn areas, the particular group of people that need our help the most, and from areas of the world significantly destabilized by actions perpetrated by the United States. It brands groups of people as dangerous based on religion and nationality, when statistically the danger is not there. On top of that, it ostracizes millions of legal citizens from other countries that now feel even more alone and emboldens the portion of the population that inherently view outsiders as less than them.
The order stands as an outrageous affront to a country founded on the idea of being a refuge for the hopeless, a destination for those needing a new start. It’s xenophobic and heartless in a way that many people in this country don’t associate with their home and the people in it. For many Americans, it’s functioned less as a new order and more as a eulogy, one given to the ideals of an America that citizens believe in and want to support.
Two days after the order was issued, Drexel University’s President John A. Fry issued a lengthy statement assuring the community that the university is “prepared to support our international students, faculty, and professional staff by every possible means.”
President Fry’s statement meant a lot to the community, a student body impacted greatly by the order and the direction it indicates the country is heading. A significant portion of the Drexel community, a diverse group from countries throughout the world, was left reeling.
Fry’s words helped ease the wounds caused by the actions of the Trump administration by making members of the Drexel community feel protected and included. Fry’s strong stance against the direction of the Trump administration in the light of this order is inspirational and much appreciated in a time where many people struggle to feel included in a land foreign to the one they were born in.
Of course, people refused to stand by in the wake of the executive order. Thousands of people packed airports throughout the country in a show of solidarity with those detained, citizens of those countries included in the orders, and Muslims in general.
That solidarity is as important now as it has ever been. With this order and the precedent it sets, the country is on a path towards outright excluding people from its borders based mostly (read: entirely) on a religion viewed incorrectly by decision-makers as violent and dangerous.
It’s important do whatever we can to make the members of our community know they belong. President Fry recognized that when he made his statement, and we must follow his lead. We’re living in a time when marginalized groups may be forced even farther into the margins, and that’s antithetical to the ideals of America and should be antithetical to the feelings of all empathetic Americans.
Go out there and make an impact. Protest. Donate. Exhibit inclusiveness in your daily life. Show the world that America remains a country filled with opportunity for everyone, independent of religion or nationality.