Fatemah Seyfi was at home when her roommates informed her of President Trump’s executive order. The order banned all refugee admissions for 120 days, while banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. Citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, refugee or otherwise, were all denied entry into the U.S. temporarily.
Seyfi was planning to return to her home in Iran in a few months time. Her roommates, who are Iranian as well, told her not to go.
“I was so shocked, and I didn’t know what was going on,” Seyfi said. “I didn’t know if the ban would stay this way or would it change.”
Seyfi, 19, is a second-year at Tallahassee Community College, double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Music.
From 2015 to 2016, there were about 17,354 students from the countries listed on the immigration ban in the U.S., according to the Institute of International Education. Approximately 12,269 of these students are from Iran.
Seyfi said that the executive order is distressing.
“I don’t understand why Iran is one of those seven countries,” Seyfi said. “Whoever I know from Iran that came to United States are hardworking people. We study here, and we didn’t do anything violent here.”
President Trump recently signed a new executive order regarding the travel ban Monday, March 6, 2017.
The new order blocks six predominantly Muslim countries, excluding Iraq from U.S. entry. It exempts permanent U.S. residents and current visa holders. The indefinite ban of Syrian refugees was also lifted and replaced with a 120 day freeze requiring review.
Iraq was said to be removed as it was requested by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. According to the New York Times, Secretary Mattis felt it would stop the U.S. from being able to defeat the country.
TCC held a discussion panel recently to discuss the executive order with the students, professors and staff members.
Dr. Richard Murgo, an Associate Dean for the Behavioral Social Sciences and Education department, was in New York City when the news of the order came out. He says the airport was in disarray and people were very troubled by the order.
“Muslim taxi drivers were refusing to pick up customers and began to protest because they felt as if they had been disrespected,” said Murgo.
Elizabeth Ricci, a local immigration attorney, said the order violates several constitutional amendments including the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.
The Establishment Clause, which is a clause in the First Amendment, prohibits the government from making any laws that may violate religious freedom. The Equal Protection clause, part of the 14th Amendment, says that no state is allowed to deny any person who has proper documentation.
Fatemah said that the ban has made school and living in the U.S. even more difficult for her and fellow international students because they are away from their family, culture and traditions.
“The situation becomes even harder when the president of the country says he doesn’t want you here,” Seyfi said.
Although she is going through a tough time, she’s encouraged by the fact that people have shown their disapproval of President Trump’s order.
“I have friends here at school that ask me how I’m feeling and they’re worried about me,” Seyfi said. “It feels really good that they’re showing their support.”