“My brother-in-law is banned,” said John Doe, a Troy student who wished to remain anonymous. “He was from Yemen. For two weeks he wanted to come. He heard the news, and they told him no.”
This has been the case of many people from the seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban who want to come to America.
Trump’s executive order on immigration, released on Friday, Jan. 27, has left many international students scared and stranded. The fear of not being able to see their families back home at the cost of their future in America has impacted students at Alabama’s international university.
Doe’s brother-in-law reached America safely after a judge overruled the executive order.
“So, the judge said yes, and he came,” Doe said. “He came here yesterday. Immediately after the judge said yes, he took the ticket and came.”
However, that has not been the case for all. Adel Alduayj, a sophomore biology major from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, expressed his concerns for his friend from Shatra, Dhi Qar, Iraq, who feels unsafe.
“He was feeling bad about the whole thing, and less safe,” Alduayj said. “He didn’t want to go back now, but then he wouldn’t be able to enter the USA again.”
The ban might seem to target only the seven countries, but its effects have spread to more countries.
“It makes you think what worse is going to happen,” said Alduayj. “If you had already planned to settle here, find a job and have a family here. Maybe it was true that I will be kicked out of USA.”
Similarly, Habib ur Rehman, chemistry lecturer from Islamabad, Pakistan, who has lived in America for over 10 years, mentioned how shocked he was at how fast the immigration ban took place (within two weeks of Trump’s inauguration).
He said that he is optimistic, while his family was worried back home.
“We (Pakistanis) read in the news that maybe Pakistan will be next,” Rehman said. “Pakistan and other Saudi countries may be banned. But I don’t see these bans working for the long run. At least, I hope students and their families will not be affected.”
The ban has not only raised concerns over all-inclusiveness in America, but also about Islamophobia. Many students agreed on how the ban has portrayed Islam and Muslims overall.
“I am a proud Muslim and not a terrorist,” said Ibraheem Abduljelil, a graduate computer science student from Lagos, Nigeria. “Not all Muslims are terrorists. People will not want to associate themselves with Muslims anymore because of this (the ban).”
“I’m more scared of people changing their mind and their perspective on people,” Alduayj said. “I hate that because of this ban, now people think citizens from there (the seven countries) are bad.”
While Trump’s executive order has made them question their safety and sense of belonging in the U.S., the ongoing nationwide protests and the chalking in colleges gives them hope.
“My country is also a Muslim-majority country, and the recent ban has made me very scared,” said Amiya Biswas, a junior computer science major from Dhaka, Bangladesh, who admits to putting snaps of the chalking on her story on Snapchat every day.
“But when I read news about people protesting, I feel relieved,” Biswas said. “Also, thank you to the people who do the chalkings on the stairs (the connecting stairs to Bibb Graves and the bookstore).” Some chalkings read: “Immigrants welcome here.”
“I don’t believe Americans are scared, and I don’t think they should be,” Alduayj said. “We are all humans; we are not going to bite.”