Executive Order Raises Concerns for International Students



Gwiwon Jason Nam, Staff Reporter

The Executive Order on the travel ban has been temporarily lifted, but international students at Texas A&M University – Commerce are expressing concerns because the situation is fluid and travel guidelines could change rapidly.

“Our Muslim students are scared after hearing that order,” the President of the Muslim Student Association and graduate student from India, Zafar Siddique said. “All students fear of going back to their home country that they might be sent back because they are Muslims,” he said.

The office of International Student Scholar & Service (ISSS) has received emails and phone calls about the executive order, with students calling from countries that were not among the seven listed in the executive order.

“These are things that foreign people in America feared,” one anonymous student said.

“For this to be one of his first executive orders is a complete slap in the face. He has nothing to justify his order. This is what caused tension between America and foreign countries. African countries all around are appalled by this executive order. What’s next? Building the wall? War?”

A couple of international students expressed their concern but they also gave different viewpoints.

“I’ll worry about how it effects on me, on my life, on my future, but I’m not a Trump hater,” music education major, Qian Wang from China said. “He is probably too radical, but I can understand why he does it, the original intention is to protect the citizens.”

Viktoria Tabeleva from Kyrgyzstan shared her thought about executive order.

“It’s very sad and I don’t agree with it. But I also know that Obama did the same thing in 2011 and no one protested as much as when Trump did it. I just think they should have increased the security check and invested in a system that would not let anyone suspicious into the country. As a conclusion, I disagree with the executive order and I am sad for people who are getting mistreated due to it.”

Muslim Student Association at A&M – Commerce gave their official thought against executive order.

“We are saddened to see the U.S. President takes such an action against the Muslims, but we would like to treat the negativity with positivity. We would like to treat hated with love.”

For now, 768 international students are enrolled this semester including eight from Iran with three on Optional Practical Training (OPT). None of the students from Iran have reported to the ISSS about the disadvantage of Executive Order. ISSS provided a brief situation of students from Iran.

“I think one student from Iran had planned on her mother coming to visit this summer, but now she doesn’t know if her mother will be allowed to visit,” International Student Coordinator, Ginger Gonzalez said. “There are students of the Muslim faith not from the countries that are expressing concern though. One student has chosen to withdraw from classes and return to her home country because she is Muslim.”

The university posted an official statement online and sent email about the situation to students.

“We understand students’ concerns about the executive order,” Gonzalez said. “As we stated on our website when the order was issued, we are strongly advising our students from those countries to avoid any travel outside the U.S. for at least the next 90 days. We are also advising our students from other countries not included in the Executive Order to avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary and to make sure they have all the documentation that is required,” she said. “President Keck addressed the situation perfectly in his email to the student body and faculty.”