President Donald Trump’s executive order barring people’s entry to the United States from seven African and Middle Eastern countries could hurt Temple, and should be condemned.
The university has students and faculty from several, if not all of the countries affected: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Temple’s president, Richard Englert, advised nationals from these countries to “consider delaying international travel at this time, as it is not clear how re-entry will be affected by the new regulations.” The presidents of other nearby universities, like Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania, have made similar suggestions.
Of course, the order should be condemned not simply for the logistical challenges it presents to academia. Temple’s mission leans heavily on the idea that diversity makes the university stronger. Those in positions of power, like President Englert, have the option now, to take a clearer stance against this executive order and others that threaten the constitutional rights of members of the Temple community.
The restrictions have already led to the detention, deportation, and denial of entry for families flying in from these countries, including the parents of one Temple student — who were sent back to their home country, Syria, despite their status as legal permanent residents.
Furthermore, a university spokesman told The Temple News that 55 students and 10 faculty members are from the affected countries.
By Sunday evening, several federal judges had granted temporary stays — rejections of the executive order that allows time for federal judges to review it and determine if it is constitutional. The stays were granted after the American Civil Liberties Union put pressure on federal judges Saturday night. But some U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents continued to defy the order and detain people at airports at airports across the country, according to the New York Post.
The stay, granted by a federal judge in Brooklyn, led to the release of some detainees. But others, particularly at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, were detained long after the stay was granted.
The show of support and the work of immigration lawyers helped the stay happen, but more will need to be done to shape more inclusive immigration policies.
To do their part, Temple students should continue to exercise their rights to express their views, as shown Sunday in a large turnout at the Philadelphia International Airport to protest the executive order.
Besides attending demonstrations, there are also other ways to influence change:
Call your representatives. If you are not sure who represents you in Congress, you can visit house.gov and enter your zip code to find out. The phone numbers for the representatives will be listed on their webpages.
Donate to an organization that supports your cause. In the case of this ban, the ACLU will continue to be instrumental in litigating the details, along with groups like the National Immigration Law Center and the International Refugee Assistance Project. They accept donations at aclu.org/donate, nilc.org/donate and refugeerights.org/donate.
Promote inclusivity. When you hear people share false information about Islam or cultures of the Middle East, correct them. Knowledge is power, and our fellow students who are affected by the ban are counting on us to stand by their side.
With elected officials and citizens denouncing this ban, it hopefully won’t be long until it is removed. Until then, we must continue to educate ourselves and others, denounce bigotry and stand up against legislation that attacks the foundation of who we are as a university and as a nation.