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UNF Spinnaker

Trump’s immigration ban affects UNF community


Video by Jas Chung

Donald Trump’s immigration ban, an executive order issued on Jan. 27, caused confusion and unrest in many parts of the country, including UNF’s campus. In response and to help alleviate student concerns, UNF reaffirmed its commitment to the international community.

The order, labeled “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States,” incited an emotional response from countless Americans, but many people are unsure how it will affect them.

Here are the facts:

  • Calls for a review of the information needed to determine what documents are needed from countries of “particular concern” for individuals to prove they are who they claim to be.
  • Suspends immigration to the U.S. for 90 days from Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, and Libya
  • Implements uniform screening procedures to identify immigrants trying to enter under a fraudulent basis
  • Suspends the refugee admission program for 120 days to review the process and determine if new procedures should be added
  • Prioritizes claims by refugees of religious based persecution if that religion is a minority religion in the individual’s country.
  • Suspends the entry of refugees from Syria indefinitely, until the President determines the vetting process is secure.
  • Caps the admittance of total refugees into the U.S. at 50,000.

Irene Silas, Director of the English Language Program, said the UNF community is very supportive of international students, but is unsure how the order will affect them directly.

She said in the 10 years she’s been the director of ELP they have only had a few students from the affected areas.

“We had one Iranian, maybe two Iranians, in the few years that I’ve been here and maybe a couple of Syrians, but we don’t work with the refugee program so it’s a completely different set of students,” Silas said.

Ruth Lopez, Director of the International Center, also praised UNF and the message President Delaney issued to students on Jan. 30.

“We want to make sure they (the students) know they’re supported, they know they have guidance and they have a place to go to if they have any questions or concerns,” Lopez said.

UNF’s International Center is always monitoring immigration requirements and travel restrictions and requirements to stay up to date and guide students.

Lopez said a local immigration attorney reached out to them and other university offices have also offered help.

“We have had several students come to our office and have reached out to us just with concern in general. A lot of them are students not even part of this seven-country travel ban,” Lopez said. “They are just students in general that are worried if it’s going to increase to countries nearby. And just in general what that means for them if they can continue here in the United States pursuing their studies.”

One student with concerns is Natali Zaher, a junior majoring in transportation and logistics and international business, who came to the U.S. from Syria when she was only nine years old.

“One of my friends isn’t able to go on a study abroad this March, which she had already paid for, because she’s not an American citizen. She has a Syrian citizenship, but she’s not able to go because she can’t get a visa to come back to America,” Zaher said.

Zaher believes the executive order defines everything America is not. She said Americans don’t face the fear that other people who are in war do.

“I remember walking the streets of Syria, living my childhood in Syria; it wasn’t the most developed of all countries but it was my home and I do still call it my homeland,” Zaher said.

She went back last year in May and said the change was unbelievable.

“I’m very grateful that I have the opportunities that I do. I went back to Syria and they have nothing. Zaher said. “The war isn’t only killing the people, it’s killing the economy, the government. There’s nothing they have left. Even bread is so hard to buy because it’s so expensive.”

Spinnaker will continue to report on how this executive order is affecting UNF’s community.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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