19 Hudson Valley students have the potential to be detained if they were to leave the country under President Trump’s Executive Order.
The executive order banned people trying to enter the country from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and refugees from all countries for 120 days. The Justice Department said 100,000 visas have been revoked under the ban.
Our understanding is that they are currently enrolled and studying with us presently so they should be able to stay. Our coordinator for international students is communicating with them at this time to address questions or learn of potential issues,” said Dennis Kennedy, director of communications and marketing.
Student Senate president Emma Dillon and secretary Manik Elahi released a statement in their meeting on Jan. 30 regarding the order.
“This is devastating; these folks are coming over to get a quality education,” Elahi said. “When they enter a environment that is so cynical of their presence leaders need to to take a stance and our statement is just an embodiment of that very principle.”
Dillon said, “We represent the students on campus. It is our place to say how we feel and that our students are safe and protected here.”
In addition to the Hudson Valley students at risk, SUNY student Vahideh Rasekhi was detained under president Trump’s executive order for immigration.
Rasekhi spent winter break in Iran before returning to the U.S. to continue her PhD program at SUNY Stony Brook. Lawyers were able to negotiate with security and get Rasekhi into the country. She was held inside the airport for an additional 24 hours before being released.
“I was super scared that I’m going to go back, I’m going be deported,” said Rasekhi, in an interview with the Daily News.
SUNY and CUNY schools released a joint statement declaring their disapproval of the executive order and promising to contact Congress on Feb. 1 to tell them how this issue could affect students.
“We have the responsibility to act on behalf of those who cannot act for themselves. We have the responsibility to come together and stand in solidarity with our colleagues looking to pursue their education in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments,” SUNY and CUNY said in their statement.
“We, along with our dedicated student leaders, are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we will stand up for justice and equality, and for the most fundamental freedoms that define American greatness,” the statement continued.
President Trump defended the order when it received a massive backlash from the media, insisting it would help to keep America safe.
“It can’t be a ban if you’re letting a million people in,” Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary said. “If 325,000 people from another country can come in, that is by nature not a ban. It is extreme vetting.”
New York senator Neil Breslin said that the act was unconstitutional.
“There’s been a lot of unfortunate results and this one, with the student on Long Island, appears to be one of them. I’ve read, in the secondary press, of many others who were detained and should not have been. I think this indicates that there are amateurs making decisions,” said Breslin.
Breslin said that he thought that this ban might end up promoting radical Islamic terrorism because of the “closed nature nature of this order.”
Protests over the ban have sparked around the country. Professor Alice Malavasic and senior clerk Polly Karis attended the protest at Albany Airport.
“It was very peaceful. There was a good police presence and from what I heard the police seemed to be happy we were there. One even thanked us for being there,” said Karis.
“I teach six classes, I have asked in all six classes if anyone went to Washington, Albany or the airport to protest and only one girl raised her hand. I am very concerned about the apathy I see among the HVCC students,” Malavasic said. “They should be protesting. Students are taking a stand at other colleges, why not here?”
Despite the protests, the backlash was not what ended up overturning the executive order.
Federal Judge Bob Ferguson ruled the ban as unconstitutional on Feb 4. “No one is above the law, not even the president,” he said after the ruling.
The Trump Administration plans on fighting this ruling. Spicer said that they feel as though the executive order was “lawful and appropriate.”
In an email sent to Stony Brook University students, president Samuel Stanley said that students from the seven countries affected by the travel ban should not travel outside the United States “unless absolutely necessary.”
With battle over the legality of the executive order far from over, the fate of travel in and out of the country for these students appears yet to be determined.