Trump’s travel ban puts USC families in limbo

Meleeka Akbarpour, a sophomore majoring in health promotion and disease prevention, was looking forward to seeing her grandmother for the first time this year. Akbarpour’s grandmother, an Iranian citizen and United States permanent resident, had planned to visit the U.S. and Canada to witness the birth of a grandchild.

But after President Donald Trump issued an executive order which barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from entering or leaving the country, Akbarpour started to worry that she would not be able to see her grandmother anytime soon.

“With my grandma’s green card, she has to be in the U.S. at least every six months, or else her green card can be revoked,” Akbarpour said. “I questioned if [the government is] doing this indirectly to revoke some people’s green cards.”

Though the ban has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge, Akbarpour is one of many USC students who was affected by Trump’s executive order, both personally and within their families.

Trump’s executive order also affected the Pakistani grandparents of Aamna Asif, the president of the Muslim Student Union. Asif and her family, all of whom are American citizens, have been trying to help Asif’s grandparents obtain American citizenship as Asif said that they’re getting older and their health is deteriorating. But Asif fears Trump’s executive order will create complications for all Muslims trying to enter the United States, though Pakistan was not one of the banned countries.

“It’s important to recognize that this ban is specifically targeting Muslims, and it’s affecting a lot of people,” Asif said.

According to the USC Office of International Services, more than 200 students originate from countries impacted by the executive order: Iran, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. While the order has not stranded any students abroad, Provost Michael Quick issued a statement urging affected individuals to stay in the country to avoid complications upon trying to return.

But Asif said Trump’s executive order is not the only thing harming the Muslim community. Asif believes that, like many other news events that involve Muslims, Trump’s executive order has led to a problematic and inaccurate media representation of Muslims, as it focuses on negative events without highlighting the positive impact Muslims have in their respective communities.

“It’s really hurtful because a lot of us were born here, grew up here,” Asif said. “This is our country — the county that we love.”

Asif’s criticism of Muslim representation in the media extends to student journalists as well. She said the extensive media coverage Muslim students receive is contradicted by a lack of action from the student journalists who interview them.

“I’ve been getting so many emails and messages from Annenberg students now, when the Muslim community is facing such hardship, rather than when we’re doing so many amazing things,” Asif said. “It’s important to be aware of our community in these times as well, but if these students were allies, they’d be there year-round, in the good times and bad.”

For Afsara Haque, MSU’s public relations coordinator, the constant media coverage surrounding Muslims has become a source of personal pressure, as she found herself having to speak for a diverse group of people.

“I became an ambassador for my faith when I actually didn’t want to be part of that role,” Haque said. “Having Muslims in the media all the time puts a spotlight on Muslims in general, especially when you are that one Muslim person that people know.”

Asif stressed cultural and religious sensitivity when interviewing Muslim students and religious figures. She said she wants to see genuine interest in the support and success of the Muslim community, regardless of what happens in the news.

“I want to see that if you’re trying to display our narrative, you’re trying to be our ally,” Asif said. “You’re standing up for our rights, whether it’s at a rally or event, not just finishing a school project.”

While Asif sees Trump’s executive action as “concerning and terrible,” exposure to Islamophobic rhetoric or policies is not new to her.

“This isn’t a new thing, ever since 9/11,” Asif said. “But it’s a wake up call, and we hope it brings out the best of other people who may not have stood up for these groups before.”

4 replies
  1. Thekatman
    Thekatman says:

    It’s a 90 day travel restriction and it will be over soon enough. Remember this… Americans and folks around them world have been inconvenienced, with travel hold ups and se c unity check points, since 9/11. Just make sure your mom has filed the appropriate paperwork to the US consulate so that she can come to the US. Life is not ending, but if we don’t take better care of our borders and institute protective measures at US Customs and higher investugati o ns of foreign travellers, life might end for you and folks you know.

    It is common sense thinking that states that you do not allow anyone coming into your home without knowing who there are and why they want to come into your home. Same holds true for our country.

    • bonesmccoy
      bonesmccoy says:

      Sir, you need to review the oral arguments in Washington & Minnesota v. Trump.

      With respect to the claim that “life is not ending”, there actually are certain cases where the Executive Order could result in “irreparable damage” to a person.

      Delays to the matriculation of university students who are completely innocent of wrong doing are completely and totally unacceptable.

      Instead of punitive measures being taken against innocent people, you should consider how you would feel if the terrorist act of ten people were to cause you to lose the right of travel.

      • Benjamin Roberts
        Benjamin Roberts says:

        Sir.. Excuse me, but you need to read the Constitution which clearly and unequivocally grants this very discretion to the President (any president, no matter the party). As with any governmental action, innocent people will be affected. The same occurs at the airport every single day. Innocent people are caught up in security lines, going through metal detectors and possibly patted down… not because all passengers are dangerous or terrorists, but because there is a possibility that even one might be.

        A 90 Day travel ban from only 7 nations does not deserve the histrionics presented by the Left. Pull it together!! These 7 nations were singled out by the Obama administration as potential threats because they do not have policies or promises in place to work with the United States in properly vetting travelers. Other nations not on the list do have such programs in place. The Constitution places this right of judgment squarely in the hands of the sitting President.

        What is happening in the courts right now is a political circus. The 9th Circuit has a history of advancing Leftist social agenda. It is not an exercise of judicial review or jurisprudence. Don’t take my word for it; Many of their decisions are overturned. I have no problem with honest debate, but sometimes in life we are lucky enough to be presented with irrefutable clarity. The President is provided statutory and Constitutional discretion when it comes to regulation of immigration policy. For example, the previous administration (at its discretion) chose to essentially look the other way when it came to illegals in our country… a policy that is actually in conflict with existing immigration law. How come nobody challenged that? Where was the outrage then? Where were the campus riots by students who were legally attending on visas? Perhaps it was because conservatives understood the latitude and discretion the President had in the matter. Nevertheless, and by the same measure, the current administration is choosing to apply, administer and enforce existing immigration law.. an inherently more fair and equitable approach.

        The reality is that it was President Obama who put USC students and families (and many across the nation) in limbo with his Dreamers act… a very temporary reprieve that he and everyone should have known could be revoked by any subsequent administration.

        • Arafat
          Arafat says:

          Thank you for taking the time to reply with this outstanding comment. Bonesmccoy’s comment was typical of the left: Firmly grasping onto misinformation and presenting it as if it is carefully vetted. Thank you for putting him in his place.

Comments are closed.