Friday, February 28

Muslim students concerned about Trump’s immigration restrictions

UCLA students showed mixed feelings toward President Donald Trump's ban on citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin)

This post was updated Jan. 30 at 3:45 p.m.

Muslim students said they are worried President Donald Trump’s ban on citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries will affect them and their families in the future.

President Trump issued an executive order Friday banning all Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely, all other refugees for 120 days and citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

On Sunday, people protested at Los Angeles International Airport to stop the executive order and demand the detainees be released.

[Related: UC responds to Trump’s executive order on immigration, refugees]

Saliha Yaylaci, a third-year electrical engineering student, is a Turkish student with an F1 visa. She said although Turkey was not among the countries on the list, she is still worried about her future because she is Muslim.

“I’m kind of scared if Turkey gets on the list I won’t be able to go back to Turkey because of political issues,” Yaylaci said. “I won’t know what to do if America rejects me and Turkey rejects me. I will be left alone in this world.”

Yaylaci added she is happy to see people of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities are protesting against the ban. She said she thinks people don’t want America’s history of discrimination to be repeated.

“It was touching to see how people can stand up for each other, to not reenact the past,” Yaylaci said.

Nadine El Fawal, a first-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student said she thinks Trump’s move was unconstitutional because terrorist attacks are not committed by U.S. citizens, visa holders or green card holders. El Fawal, who is a Muslim immigrant from Egypt, added she thinks Trump, to protect his business ties, is banning the wrong group of Muslims.

“I am scared because right now my country is not on the list, but the executive order did say that more countries could be added,” she said. “What if I go for a vacation someday and can’t come back?”

[Related: Student reflects on immigrant identity, anti-Muslim prejudice in US]

Lamia Choudhury, a third-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student, said she is scared because she is a permanent resident of the U.S. and not a citizen yet. She added she is originally from Bangladesh and is worried her family will not be able to visit her in the U.S. because they are Muslim.

Choudhury added she thinks the protests will have long-term effects on the Trump administration.

“The thing about protests – I think they hardly have any immediate action but that doesn’t mean they’re not important,” Choudhury said. “In the long run, it makes a statement that there are still people in this country who care and are willing to protect you.”

Choudhury added she thinks this move is hurting a lot of people in the process.

“(Trump is) saying it’s because (the countries) are terror-prone, but I don’t think so,” she said. “It’s thoroughly dividing the country into two halves and it’s not healthy at all.”

Other students support Trump’s executive order.

Joseph Rainey, a first-year business economics student, said although he agrees the ban will have a negative effect on a lot of innocent people, he thinks the move is necessary.

“We are at war with extreme ideologies,” Rainey said. “It’s saddening that a lot of people aren’t going to have a chance at an American life, but in order to continue to have the American dream and life we have today, we are going to have to make some exceptions.”

Rainey added he would disagree with calling it a Muslim ban, purely because it is a regional ban that bars people from a certain geographical area.

“There is good evidence on both sides claiming that there are terroristic threats coming from those regions,” Rainey said. “I would agree the basis of executive order is a good thing; however, the way that it was done wasn’t the smoothest.”

Rainey added he doesn’t think people with green cards should be banned, and as long as those people have been screened thoroughly, they should be allowed back in the nation.

Contributing reports by Yiling Liu, Daily Bruin contributor.

Features & Student Life editor

Ghosh is the assistant news editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She covers features on UCLA students, faculty and staff, obituaries, events on campus, Greek life and the Hill. She was previously a Features & Student Life news contributor and an opinion columnist.

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  • Karmakameleeon

    joseph u crazy