Student Voices: Executive Order Sparks Concern, Questions

Open Letter to President Trump

President Carol Quillen joins with leaders from other American colleges and universities in urging President Donald Trump to rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country’s borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world.

Students speak out about the recent executive order suspending entry into the United States for refugees and nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Some express concern on behalf of friends and family members affected by the order, while others struggle with what the order means for their futures in America.

"While studying and traveling in the Middle East, we have been met with nothing other than compassion, kindness and a sincere curiosity about our lives in the United States. The portrayal of this region as a hotbed of terrorism and danger is heartbreaking and does a disservice to the values of our country. Ignoring the multitude of national security threats that will emerge as a direct consequence of this executive action, we continue to believe that freedom–a keystone of this country–does not endure when some of us remain shackled by the chains of oppression and alienation. We encourage everyone to summon, as we always have in times of peril, a commitment to a shared humanity and a more unified tomorrow."

-Ashley Frye '19 and Aman Madan '19

"I'm an alumna of a state department-sponsored exchange program, called Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study. The program brings students from predominantly Muslim countries to the United States for a year and sends young Americans to predominantly Muslim countries for a year. The students who come to the United States as part of this program have a deep impact on their host communities, and counter Islamophobic narratives through their contributions to their host families and schools. I'm concerned for students who will no longer be able to come to the United States as part of this program, and for the lost potential to build bridges. I'm also an alumna of the United World College movement, and I'm deeply concerned for my classmates who come from 70 different countries, including those directly affected by the ban. For many of them, the United States represented their most viable, and sometimes only, option for higher education. I resist so that these incredible young people will have the chance to continue their education in this country." 

-Catherine Cartier '20

"I felt completely betrayed as a result of the ban. This is the antithesis of what I thought American values were about. We are a nation of immigrants–a nation with open arms and welcoming attitudes. And to see us losing sight and giving in to the demagogic rhetoric of security measures makes me very afraid. My family had to change its plans because of the travel ban; leaving the nation is now a problem."

-Anmar Jerjees '18

Jerjees is a dual citizen of Iraq and the United States. He was born in Iraq and became an American citizen in 2014.

"I have three main concerns with the ban: 1) my family cannot come visit me from Germany anymore; 2) I am worried I may be treated differently in airports because my passport says I was born in Syria; 3) many of my family and friends can no longer continue their jobs here in the United States. One of them works in Dubai, and his job requires him to regularly travel to the United States, where his daughter lives with her mother. Not only can he no longer do his job, but he also cannot see his daughter–he cannot travel to the United States and she cannot travel outside of the United States because she will not be allowed back in. It's scary to think about what's next." 

-Adam Morin '18

Morin is a dual citizen of Syria and the United States. 

"This executive order especially hits home because I consider many Muslim refugees friends. While working with the United Nations Refugee Agency in Amman, Jordan, Refugee Support Services in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Davidson Refugee Support on campus, I have gotten to know Muslim refugees personally. I have gone to the movies with these friends, enjoyed meals in their homes and celebrated the births of children, graduations and passing of citizenship tests. This executive order has threatened their sense of security and inclusion in America. I, and the many members of Davidson Refuge Support, both strongly condemn this unconstitutional executive order and express our sympathy and support for our refugee friends."

-Hayden Bates '18

"As a resident adviser, I serve the Davidson community by building, maintaining and engaging a space that is welcoming for all students. The political reality we live in today has made this harder to do. One of my residents, a refugee from Syria whose arrival is so recent that I haven't gotten the chance to put his name on the door to his room yet, is already worried that his Davidson education will have to be cut short. How are we, as a community, supposed to make him feel welcome when our government subscribes itself to the opposite objective? Furthermore, as an active member of the student organization Davidson Refugee Support, I help serve the refugee community within the greater Charlotte area. The exigence of our work has grown as a result of recent U.S. immigration policy, yet our success in supporting local refugees on their path to U.S. citizenship has been severely restricted because of these same governmental actions. DRS and other minority student organizations have every intention to collaboratively organize and take action against this order."

-Maximo Guerrieri '19


  • February 2, 2017