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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


International students express how they have been affected by Trump’s first 100 days

Selena Quintanilla

International flags hang in the Bookstore located on the main floor of the Student Union Memorial Center. The UA is home to a plethora of students from around the globe.

Among the decisions of the new administration, many have been watching President Trump’s proposed travel bans. Although currently blocked by the courts, these bans have affected people all over the world, including our very own international students at the University of Arizona, who are concerned especially in regards to their travel plans and that of their families and friends.

These bans, at the time they were issued, barred millions of people from the United States and rejected entry to refugees. People were stranded in airports all over the United States. In February, a judge in Seattle suspended the first travel ban nationwide. The executive order is currently blocked by the courts.

Many people who were abroad in any one of the seven countries affected by the Jan. 27 executive order, though they were U.S. citizens, could not return home. Many who were scheduled to travel were afraid to leave, for fear of not being able to return. In an email sent out to all students and faculty Jan. 29, UA President Ann Weaver Hart recommended that students and faculty postpone international travel until “this matter is resolved.” She further wrote in the email that the university opposed the executive order and that at the time it was issued, the UA Office of Global Initiatives was busy answering the inquiries of students, faculty and scholars throughout the weekend following the issue of the executive order to help those both affected and potentially affected by the order.

“We have also heard from University of Arizona students who are afraid to travel abroad, despite the legality of their visas and we are deeply concerned for the wellbeing and treatment of our foreign students, scholars, researchers and professors,” Weaver-Hart wrote in the email that was sent to all faculty, staff and students.

According to Joanne Lagasse-Long, the director of International Student Services on campus, there isn’t anything the university can do about the policies, as the policies are not their own, but the White House’s.

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“What we’ve been doing is working with departments and we’ve been keeping up information on our main website and messaging to students information as it was coming in,” Lagasse-Long added. “We’re talking January time. And then informing them afterward, keeping this information up to date.”

Lagasse-Long said they have had “more questions from students not on those countries’ list than from the country list” of the travel ban.

“And I think because it’s like ‘oh, what’s this going to do to me, can I travel to this country?’” she said. “It’s hard to describe or explain that the travel ban wasn’t in effect, but the concerns surrounding that and what that might mean [for] all international students.”

Lagasse-Long said the James E. Rogers College of Law put on a workshop and Student Legal Services held training about knowing one’s rights. Lagasse-Long also said the College of Engineering reached out to students and held a dinner with the Provost and the Dean to “remind them that we’re here for them and that it won’t change in terms of the support.”

“We will make sure that they feel supported and welcome,” Lagasse-Long said. “So that was the whole aspect about that because the countries listed on that [the travel ban], a good majority of them are in the College of Engineering.”

She said this was a great opportunity to engage with the students and that she believed this form of reaching out “helped with what was going on at the time.”

“Our office was able to serve as a conduit and if departments had questions, definitely refer [their] students to us so that we could tend to them,” Lagasse-Long said.

She also said that they have worked on a “You Are Welcome Here” video, which many universities worked on across the nation.

“This is a university issue and we’ve been able to facilitate and work with a number of different departments to provide that support to the departments and to the students and work together for that,” Lagasse-Long said. “So that video is also going out to prospective students, so students who may not be sure as a result of that whether or not this would be a place that they’d want to come.”

Students, meanwhile, have different perspectives on Trump and his travel bans.

Jian Jiao, an international student from China who has been in the U.S. for four years and is a junior majoring in electrical engineering, believes that Trump is crazy and overreacting and also exemplifies racism and looks down on women.

“He [Donald Trump] is very strict in China, so I don’t have a good feeling on him,” Jiao said. “But right now, it seems like he’s changing a little bit, so it’s hard to say right now.”

However, there are other international students who don’t necessarily hold the same views, nor have been affected by the travel ban too significantly.

“It hasn’t affected me [because] I live three hours away from here, so I just drive and go through the border,” said Adriana Ruy Sanchez, an incoming junior studying agriculture and business. “It’s the same thing; it hasn’t affected me. But I know some other countries, it has affected them, but for me it hasn’t at all, so that’s good.”

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However, Ruy Sanchez said her father is in agriculture and through that business, they send products to the United States, so the ban could potentially harm them. For now, though, she said it hasn’t affected her family at all.

Mohammed Alkhalifah, a freshman majoring in engineering, praised Trump’s immigration ban.

“I don’t think that he [Donald Trump] affected me,” Alkhalifah said. “I think that he is doing whatever he can for his country; like stopping some countries from getting into the US. For example, he is doing it to protect his country.”

He said utilizing different approaches to dealing with problems may help Trump in the future.

“Sometimes he is rude and says unnecessary things; that’s the bad thing that most people don’t like about him and I don’t like that about him too,” Alkhalifah said.

Updated information for travel immigration updates can be found at the Office of Global Initiatives’s website at

Follow Kacie Lillejord  on Twitter

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