Panel held about travel ban


Senior biology major Afreen Varsi discusses the former travel ban enforced by President Donald Trump.

By Clarissa Hinshaw

DeKALB — The Muslim Student Association held the NIU Green-Out Wednesday in which a panel discussed how the travel ban affects Muslim and international students.

On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel for immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days. It also put an indefinite hold on accepting Syrian refugees, according to The White House website. These countries were deemed Muslim-majority countries by Trump, according to a Jan. 28 CNN article.

Federal judges from Washington and Minnesota halted the travel ban Feb. 4, questioning whether it was constitutional, according to a Feb. 4 NPR article. The appeals court decided not to reinstate the travel ban Feb. 7, meaning the case could go to the Supreme Court, according to a Feb. 7 CNN article.

Students wore green Wednesday to support Muslims — for whom green is a traditional color — leading up to the event in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room.

“It was a great event to spread awareness to people who are hesitant to ask anything about the current situation,” said Namra Aziz, senior electrical engineering major. “It brought together the community to share their events and help people in need.”

Stephanie Brown, associate director of the International Student and Faculty Office, said 20 NIU students are from the seven countries listed in the travel ban.

Afreen Warsi, Muslim Student Association president, said there has been a lot of fear since the ban was announced.

“We are in a country where we are able to practice our religion and express what we want to freely,” Warsi said. [Trump’s rhetoric toward Muslims] saddens me. Growing up Muslim in America is not the easiest thing.”

Since the travel ban was announced, Warsi has received supportive emails from students and faculty.

Benjamin Webster, junior communication, rhetoric and public communication major, said he was not surprised the travel ban was halted as he thinks it was not executed well.

“Sure, we are minus one justice, but this is the type of issue where even conservative justices would say, ‘Look, this is crazy’ , ” Webster said.

Brown said she is concerned about how the travel ban will affect international students if reinstated. She has been trying to inform them and provide clarity as students wait and see what happens.

“[I advise international students] that they remember why they’re here,” Brown said. “NIU wants them here, and they should continue to focus on their classes, even though that can be difficult in the midst of everything going on and check in with us.”