Travel ban spreads uncertainty among students


Jacqui White, Staff Writer


On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that banned immigrants from seven countries to enter the United States, regardless if they were already going through customs at the moment or if they were planning on coming over soon. The predominantly Muslim countries affected by Trump’s travel ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. After the ban was put in place, it was discovered that the countries that Trump had included in his ban were the countries that he didn’t do business with.

In response to the sudden and very broad ban, a Bush-era judge for Homeland Security ruled to put a temporary holding on the ban. The Justice Department quickly filed an appeal to challenge the ruling and to re-implement the original ban.

In a letter addressed to the Utica College community, President Laura Casamento expressed that she understood the travel ban could force a sense of uncertainty. She mentioned how international students and staff might be feeling the most uncertainty, since the travel ban could affect them personally.

Christopher Johnson, dean of international education at Utica College, explained what the ban actually meant for students, faculty and staff at Utica. Johnson said as far as the college’s records show, no one at the college has been affected by the ban. He did say that there might be a few students or staff that were born in the countries that are on the ban list that have been U.S. citizens for a few years now, but he didn’t think that they should be affected.

Johnson said the thing that was probably the most confusing about the ban was that it was signed so quickly and put into place, along with being so broad.

“A few people have compared it to Bush in 2001, when he shut down the airports completely, no matter what country people were coming from,” Johnson said. “That had a universal understanding from everyone and it didn’t last that long. There also weren’t protests about it, because of the understanding that people had.”

Johnson also explained that Bush closing the airports didn’t really target any specific travelers, unlike the current ban. The Office of International Education is currently giving international students and staff as much information as they have.

He also said there have been rumors about more countries being added to the ban list and the additional countries do include faculty and students that come to Utica. Johnson said there was a town hall style meeting with all international staff and students at Utica, where they continued to push out any information they had.

He added if any information is released, he believes that Casamento will send out another campus-wide letter to get the information out quickly.