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Threat of immigration ban affects Tech students

February 21, 2017

 

Kailee Courts
News Editor | kec029@latech.edu

 

On Friday Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days. This order came one week after he was officially sworn in as president.

 

Although the ban has been temporarily blocked by federal courts, many Americans and immigrants alike are still trying to figure out what this means for the future of our country.

 

Daniel Erickson, the director for International Student and Scholar Services, said there are around 18 students that were affected by the ban, with 13 of the students being Iranian.

 

“When I first heard the news about the executive order, I was concerned because we work so hard to make international students feel welcomed here,” he said. “It is sad that these students feel singled out now because of this.”

 

Erickson said the students who have come from these countries have seen many different levels of security just to get to Tech.

 

“When I first heard the news about the executive order, I was concerned because we work so hard to make international students feel welcomed here.”
Daniel Erickson,
director for international student and scholar services

“It is a long process for students to go through before they can even get to America,” he said. “After they are accepted by the university, they then start getting background checks and all the other necessary precautions, and it does not stop there. Once they are in America, immigration services check back every quarter.”

 

Erickson said the international student office is working hard to make sure the students from the affected countries know they are still welcome here.

 

“[Tech president Les] Guice released a statement about the events and he has worked hard to express how welcome these students are,” he said. “Now it is our turn to show them that.”

 

Mehdi Mofidian, a doctoral student in microsystems engineering from Iran, said he was shocked when he first heard the news.

 

“I really did not know what to think at first,” he said. “I know our countries have not had the greatest relationships but I did not think something like this would happen.”

 

Mofidian said he was planning to invite his family to America, but he does not know if that is a possibility now. He said he has been contacted by different American friends to show their support during this time.

 

“This is not a conflict between the American and Iranian people; it is a conflict between governments,” he said. “We have not committed any terrorist activities, so why are they treating us like we have?”

 

Mofidian said he hopes students will use this time to think about what is going on in the world around us.

 

“We are all educated people here,” he said. “We all come to learn and better ourselves; I hope the other educated people will see that.”

 

Students are not the only people being affected by the ban; university staff members are being affected as well.

 

Mahboubeh Madadi, an assistant professor of industrial engineering, is from Iran and is planning to visit her family in late summer.

 

“I have been in the United States since 2011 and have not been able to see my family in almost six years,” she said. “Now with this executive order, I do not know if I will be able to go home to see my family.”

 

Madadi said she thinks the executive order is very unfair and does not do anything to help fight the threat of terrorism in the United States.

 

“Iranians are very friendly people; we are contributing a lot to the United States, especially in academia,” she said. “This ban is affecting good people who are helping and serving the United States. It is unfair to be treated like this.”

 

Madadi said while she does not agree with the ban, she understands that it is important to protect the border and the American people. She said she thinks the ban, however, has nothing to do with what is going on.

 

“I have never thought I was not wanted here until this executive order,” she said. “I don’t think it is the people who have a problem with each other; it is the governments. This is all just politics.”

 

Madadi said although this executive order has been scary, it is heartwarming knowing there are people standing up in support of the people from the affected countries.

 

“All of the movements happening around the nation have made me feel more calm,” she said. “We just have to be positive and pray for the situation to settle down. We all want better relationships between the countries.”

 

Madadi said the one thing she wants Americans to know is Iranian people still love America.

 

“We are just people,” she said. “Iranian people do not have a problem with American people. All of this is just politics and I hope it gets smoothed out soon.”

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