January 30, 2017

EDITORIAL: Rescind the Order

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On Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order banning Syrian citizens indefinitely and citizens of seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the United States for 90 days. This order includes citizens of those countries who had previously been granted refugee status and currently enjoy permanent legal status in the United States and citizens of allied nations such as Canada and the U.K. who happen to originate from one of the listed countries. As U.S. authorities began detaining an increasing number of people, protesters began to flood airports across the country.

Beyond those directly affected, the order has serious ramifications for the entire country: family members separated from each other, such as an Iranian mother separated from her five-year-old son at Washington’s Dulles International Airport; tenured scientists hindered from continuing their work, such as computational biologist Samira Asgari, who was “very shocked that all [her] efforts, that all [she had] done, can be undone – just like that.” American universities have since advised their foreign students against making international travel plans and find the strength of their educational and research efforts at risk.

Over 20 percent of Cornellians are international students, and many others participate in programs abroad. As a university that boasts the motto “any person, any study” and is deeply committed to fostering an inclusive campus experience for people of all backgrounds, Cornell must guarantee students their safety despite the troubling executive order. On Jan. 29, Interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III published a statement, in the wake of similar messages issued by institutions such as the University of Michigan and Harvard University, urging immediate reporting of their incidents and offering various resources such as continued privacy of student records and legal assistance. We applaud President Rawlings’ statement of support, as he pledges to provide legal support for those affected by Trump’s executive order and to continue supporting international and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival students.

The fight to resist and oppose Trump’s thinly-veiled Muslim ban, however, should not end there: Cornell should follow in the steps of University of Michigan, which refused to release the immigration status of its students; Cornell must ensure that students, faculty members and researchers whose lives have been interrupted by the ban are given adequate professional accommodations; the University’s Federal Relations Office should dedicate its resources to pushing for a full repeal of the immigration ban; beyond being a member of the Association of American Universities which called for a “quick end” to the executive order, Cornell should work relentlessly alongside peer institutions to collectively ensure intellectual exchange continues across borders. We must realize that institutions of higher education have an obligation to not only support marginalized groups, but also actively resist the xenophobic and racist policies that threaten freedom, equality and diversity.

Indeed, the surrounding community has already started mobilizing. Seattle attorney Joe Shaeffer ’92 worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to release two men detained at Seattle-Tacoma International airport. During an Emergency Rally to Support Immigrant Rights on Saturday, Ithacans gathered with their immigrant neighbors to show their unwavering support. Students and locals alike protested at Syracuse airport, demonstrating “the city’s openness to refugees from around the world.”

These are only a few examples of the community’s potential to protect the diversity that our culture thrives on, and we hope that incoming president Martha Pollack continues to maintain Cornell’s status as a safe haven for students of all nationalities, ethnicities and religions. Cornell must emphasize that President Trump’s executive order will not interfere with the university’s stance on inclusive practices: the presence of students from all backgrounds promotes cross-cultural learning, love and respect among all Cornellians.

  • Hank

    Trump has enacted a 120 day travel restriction. It provides some exceptions for persecuted religious minorities. Liberals are in full hysteria mode. It is a great sight to behold.

    • Arafat

      It is a great sight. It is also Obama’s legacy which makes it that much more delightful.

      I read an article two days ago about how the democratic party has all but forced out all blue dog democrats – those who voted not for the party line but as thinking people with democratic leanings. These democratic politicians have all but been replaced by the liberal elitists and this is why the democrats have lost something like 1,000 seats in state and federal positions since Obama was first elected.

      What is particularly hilarious is the democratic party thinks it is the big-tent party when, in fact, it is intolerant of all who do not embrace the alt-liberal meme. And what is even more funny is that the democrats are doubling down on this profoundly stupid approach. They are getting more and more and more liberal. Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, you name it are the democrats answer to national and international issues. It does not get much funnier than this.

      Einstein said of insanity it is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The Sun’s editorial board fits that definition to a “t”.

    • Lara

      Anything but “hysteria mode” as you put it helps to establish acts like these as normal. A climate that doesn’t protest things encourages rulers like Hitler and horrible genocides such as the holocaust to be met with no protest from non-discriminated groups who simply have become used to this. Protesting strongly now means hopefully we will never get to that point.

      • Hank

        Lara- did you know that it is rumored that Adolph Hitler is Trump’s great uncle? And that Steve Bannon was part of the group that killed Emmitt Till? And that George Bush was behind 9/11? So, I guess you are right that hysteria is the appropriate response.

        • Lara

          I mean even with that absurd comment you haven’t really proved to me that hysteria was bad? Like you didn’t say anything?

      • A flock of Segals

        It’s is so sickening to hear people compare Trump to Hitler.

        How dare you! I’m Jewish and that is an insult. All of Trump’s adult children are married to a spouse who is Jewish. His daughter converted to Judaism.

  • AJ

    We are a nation of immigrants and I applaud and support the push for our country to welcome immigrants as we have throughout our history. But the way to push this is to concentrate on having our elected politicians increase the numbers of allowed LEGAL immigration, not illegal immigration. This way those same politicians will have to run for reelection based on the policies and numbers of legal immigration that they voted for, at which time the people can either reelect them or vote in their opponents.

    That is the way to ensure that American CITIZENS support the policy decisions, not just politicians and lobbyists, and not just those who scream louder than everyone else and bully the opposition, one way or another.

    That is “the way democracy should work”, at least in OUR democratic republic.

    It certainly should not work by having individuals such as university presidents or administrators choosing to ignore any laws that apply to them or the universities that they lead, and putting the safety of students into the hands of their own political opinions.

    Because if any student at any university should be harmed because of the wanton acts of a university administrator, the responsibility for that injury will rest squarely on the shoulders of those who chose to put their own political viewpoints ahead of the laws of our great nation.

  • Arafat

    Trump handled this poorly but his intention is correct. Immigration is not a right it is a privilege. Every country has the right to fashion their own immigration policies as their lawmakers deem fit.

    As an example of this we could take a page from almost every single (and this is dozens) of Muslim nations where immigration by non-Muslims is next to impossible. But we all know this issue is not as simple as just this and that there are valid reasons to ban Muslim immigration to America and it is because Islam is profoundly unconstitutional and any practicing Muslim is, by definition, in defiance of our constitution.

    Islam does not believe in equal rights. Islam does not believe in man-made laws – Allah’s laws are THE law, Islam does not believe in individual rights. And, other than for vapid liberals, this is as obvious as the light of day for there is not one single Muslim country where one cannot see these unconstitutional practices in action.

    So to summarize. Immigration is a privilege not a right. Practicing Muslims see our values and Constitution and Bill of Rights as barriers to push away. Why would any sane nation welcome in a people who would destroy our freedoms, undermine diversity (yes, diversity as opposed to the monolithic Islamic countries), and who would destroy our liberal ideals. (And I use the word “liberal” as per its real definition not the perverted one use by the liberals of today.)

    • Matt Provenzano ’16

      ” Immigration is a privilege not a right.”
      Incorrect. The right to refugee status and asylum seeking is guaranteed under Article 14 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1951 Refugee Convention states that no contracting party can discriminate against asylum-seeking people based on race, religion, or nationality. These are people who have been detained, deported, or denied entry without due process, and after they have filed all the appropriate paperwork and screenings from the UN and State Department for up to 18-24 months, not to mention legal residents denied entry to the country where their families reside and where they work and study. The great thing about human rights is that they’re inalienable whether you like the religion or not, and I’m glad Cornell believes that as well.

      • Hank

        US Statutory law overrides any UN crap. The President has the right to exclude anyone he or she deems to be a threat.

      • A flock of Segals

        “rights”? oh you’re adorable!