Since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America, he has signed a number of controversial executive orders. Among these are provisions to nullify crucial parts of the Affordable Care Act, constricting mobility and public communication for agencies such as the EPA or other scientific agencies, ordering the construction of the 2,000-mile-long wall to act as a border between the U.S. and Mexico, the defunding of sanctuary cities, and the orders allowing the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines to be built.
Recently, Trump has signed an order called “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” which blocks Syrian refugees from entering the United States. Immigration from “terror-prone” nations in the Middle East, specified as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, have also been suspended.
“I’m going back to [my home country] for my sister’s wedding in March and will have to come back to continue studying, meaning I’m going to go through the ‘extreme vetting,’” said a PSU student who wished to remain anonymous. “I am sure that I will be able to come back and continue my studies as all of my forms are in order, but there’s always this overbearing feeling of stress that I feel whenever I travel because I know that I am looked at differently and interacted with differently because of my race and religious background. I worry I can’t come back to my college life here after that.”
“[As] someone with multiple health ailments and a regular user of birth control and mental health medication, I fear the cost of keeping my sanity and reproductive health in check will be greatly jeopardized,” said Hanna Mae El-warari.
El-warari is a daughter of immigrants; her father is an independent business owner, and her mother is working on a project that will rebuild farmhouses into housing centers for at-risk families. She also expressed worry over the immigration and travel restrictions on countries with a majority of Arab-Muslim peoples. Unfortunately, El-warari’s experience is not unique, as many families in the U.S. are struggling to unite under the sudden travel restrictions.
Women’s Resource Center representative Kayla Townsley explained that her health was in jeopardy with the repeal of the ACA and removal of its provisions.
“I know the impact of a lot of the executive orders won’t affect me as deeply, and some won’t impact me directly at all,” Townsley said. “I think as far as my physical well-being, I am most concerned about the destruction of the ACA and the removal of reproductive rights both as a sex-positive woman and as an individual with mental illness.”
“Of President Trump’s executive orders, those dealing with immigration definitely have a particular impact on us as Chicanx/Mexican-descent students,” said Julian Bugarín Quezada, representing PSU’s Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán’s, highlighting that Trump’s executive orders unfairly target the Latinx/Chicanx populations in the country. “The construction of the wall itself is a clear act of hate against people coming from Latin America seeking to escape poverty and/or violence that was instigated by the United States’ foreign policy with Latin America.”
“The executive orders to build a wall along the Mexican border and defund sanctuary cities are especially concerning,” Quezada said. “Since many of us are undocumented or have immediate family or close friends that are undocumented, sanctuary cities are important because it protects predominantly [us] from being racially profiled regardless of… citizenship status… [allowing us to ] live [our] lives without the fear of being sent back to countries that they may no longer consider to be home.”
“Morally and symbolically, the wall is a representation of racism and xenophobia,” said another anonymous PSU student. “It is an embarrassment, and somewhat negligent, for the United States to pursue this kind of foreign policy. Economically, it is U.S. citizens that will end up paying for the wall since Trump’s plans to institute a 20 percent import tax on Mexico will translate directly into goods and services being more expensive for the average consumer.”
“Some 3,000 Filipinos could be deported under these executive orders,” said Sharlynne Flores and Jhus Castillo of PSU’s Kaibigan in a shared statement. “Although the Philippines isn’t currently under the ban…Trump had listed the Philippines as a terrorist nation… [I]n due time, [the] Philippines will fall under the ban as well.”
“Being an environmental studies major, the executive order effectively temporarily shutting down the EPA will affect me the most,” explained PSU student Summer Dean. “Federal funding for environmental work, especially dealing with climate change, has all been halted. Scientists can no longer publish their peer-reviewed work without political review…This is a huge violation of our rights as citizens to have access to truth and facts about our own planet.”
“The current political climate is intense, to say the least,” said another anonymous student. “But in times like these, I try to remind myself of a famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
“Large deportations like this aren’t new,” emphasized Flores and Castillo. “While [these orders] makes us fearful, other things give us hope. Hopeful [that] people who are uniting against these executive order [are] opening their eyes to the problems we have in the U.S. [which are] undeniable by the protests that have been rising up across the nation.”