Reactions differ to new iteration of travel ban

Catherine Conrow

In the latest development regarding President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, Trump signed an executive order Monday meant to replace his seven Muslim-majority country immigration ban that was halted by federal courts. The new executive order removes Iraq from the list of countries and does not require a religious test for refugees to enter the United States, unlike the first version of the ban. The new travel ban comes after a period of confusion due to several government officials saying that they were not given enough advanced warning to enforce the ban uniformly and properly.

When the Trump Administration initially rolled out an executive order on Jan. 27 that temporarily suspended the entry of all refugees, people of all religions and backgrounds took to airports around the country to protest.

The effects of the ban have extended to the Redwood community, as many students share the confusions and concerns they have regarding how the ban will affect their families and themselves.

Junior Kian Kazemi, whose father was born in Iran, is affected by the ban on a personal level, specifically by the limits it places on travel.

Junior Kian Kazemi visits Shiraz, Iran in 2015. Kazemi, whose father is from Iran, fears the Trump Administration's travel ban will prevent him from seeing family members who live in Iran.
Junior Kian Kazemi visits Shiraz, Iran in 2015. Kazemi, whose father is from Iran, fears the Trump Administration’s travel ban will prevent him from seeing family members who live in Iran.

Kazemi, who has visited Iran twice, said that a travel ban makes it much more difficult for him to see his family in Iran.

“We were confused as to whether my grandma, who has a U.S. passport but lives in Iran currently, would be able to come over here,” Kazemi said.

Kazemi said that he is concerned that his family members who live in Iran and aren’t American citizens will be blocked from entering the United States.

“If I want to see them, I will have to go to Iran or we have to meet in a neutral location, like London,” Kazemi said.

Kazemi and his family were planning to visit their relatives in Iran this summer but the complications surrounding the updated travel ban is preventing them from doing so.

According to Kazemi, who holds both an American and Iranian passport, the original travel ban was very confusing and he didn’t have clarity on who was allowed to come and go from Iran.

“I’m not sure if the ban would apply to us. If I went to Iran, should I put that I went to Iran or the United Arab Emirates [on my U.S. passport]? Because I use a different passport when I get to Iran,” Kazemi said.

Kazemi’s situation has become even more complicated since the Iranian government has threatened to introduce similar traveling restrictions for U.S. citizens, according to Kazemi.

He believes that if the Trump Administration had more clearly outlined the specifics of the original ban, there wouldn’t be as much confusion and backlash. The rollout of the Jan. 27 travel ban was rushed and left many government employees confused about how to implement it.

“I think it would have been much better and it wouldn’t have received as much backlash if [Trump] would have had said, ‘Visa holders of these countries are not allowed,’” Kazemi said. “[Custom officials] were unclear on who they should allow in or would should be detained.”

Although senior Daniela Krpan said that she believes the original ban had good intentions, like Kazemi, she thinks it was too rushed and confusing.

“I truly believe that Trump’s [travel ban] had good intentions in regards to our national security, but I believe that its implementation was too rushed and not well thought out,” Krpan said.

Kazemi believes that a travel ban toward predominantly Muslim countries is unconstitutional and is glad that the original travel ban was halted by two federal judges.

“I think it’s unconstitutional and that it is a Muslim ban even though he doesn’t say that it is a Muslim ban,” Kazemi said.

Kazemi said that the ban has been discussed in many of his classes and all of his friends have been sympathetic towards his challenging situation.

“My best friend told me that she doesn’t want me to go to Iran in case I get stuck,” Kazemi said. “[My friends] are scared on my behalf.”

Kazemi fears that the travel and immigration ban will encourage increased hatred of the West.

“I believe that if Trump is allowed to install this ban, he will take his power to add more countries to the list. This would alienate more people and effectively create more people [who are] hostile to the West,” Kazemi said.

Senior Kristen Varganova, who grew up in Uzbekistan before moving to the United States when she was 10, said that she also fears the Trump Administration will continue to add new countries to his travel and immigration bans, and that Uzbekistan might eventually be added to the list.

“Even though parts of Uzbekistan are Central Asia and parts of it are considered to be in the Middle East, [the ban] is still scary,” Varganova said. “Because Uzbekistan borders Afghanistan, a lot of people associate different stereotypes to countries in that region.”

Krpan hopes that the new version of the travel ban will make the implementation of the travel ban less complicated than the original executive order.

“I believe that the revision on the executive order will make the entire process much less chaotic,” Krpan said.