Frannie Bowles standing with refugees at Haji’s information table on Tuesday – Photo by Elle McMahon | Promethean
By Felicity Bosk
Two UWS professors are working to help people from the seven country’s President Donald Trump banned from entering to United States. Susan Stanich and Dr. Khalil “Haji” Dokhanchi are organizing their own efforts to help educated and advocate for refugees and immigrants.
Though the courts have found the travel ban to be unconstitutional, many still worry that President Trump will create an entirley new executive order for the same purpose of restricting travel from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Stanich is reaching out to UWS community members to sign a petition to make UWS a sanctuary campus. This would mean that “campus police and managers of data will refuse to cooperate with federal agents wishing to deport undocumented students,” among many other things.
“It came out of the Fugitive Slave Act and housing people from the underground railroad into Canada,” said Stanich about how the history of sanctuary cities and campuses.
Haji has been using whatever free time he has throughout the day to table in the YellowJacket Union. He has three pots students can donate money to respectively for Amnesty International, United Nations High Commission on Refugees, and the Red Cross. People have been coming up to his table to take pictures with a yellow frame that reads “Welcome Refugees” and “#ISupportRefugees”.
He is hoping that “people begin to notice this is a problem and to take action. Democracy is not just voting but becoming engaged… this has been going on for four or five years, it’s not new, but now we have a full on ban.”
President Trump on January 27 signed an executive order barring people from seven predominantly Islamic nations temporarily, and refugees from Syria indefinitely. That day, which was also Holocaust Remembrance Day, saw protesters at airports and cities along with an international outcry because the order also prevented refugees from entering the United States.
We as human beings must protect people who are suffering
Many think the barring is not warranted, because there have been no terrorist activities in the United States conducted by people from those seven countries, according to a NPR article published the same day. It also goes against the Geneva Convention, which states the United States and other nations who signed the agreement would take in any person who needs refuge. The ban also goes against The Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, agreed to in 1967, and the Universal Declaration of human rights which was written in part by Eleanor Roosevelt.
“I had a friend involved in sanctuary during the terrible time in El Salvador in the late 70’s early 80’s,” said Stanich. “I think we as human beings must protect people who are suffering. When I heard the news last week, I knew we had to do something to resist it. It is our responsibility as citizens and human beings.”
Chancellor Renée Wachter sent a campus wide email regarding the executive order on January 31.
“I want to assure all of our students and employees that each one of you is important to the vibrancy of our campus and our community,” she said. “I value the work that you do. It is important to remain committed to our mission and our commitment to embodying respect for diverse cultures and multiple voices.”