Purun Yeo

Purun Yeo
Freshman
International Relations
North Africa

A Perspective of an International Student on Trump’s Travel Ban

Within the first two weeks of his inauguration, President Donald Trump issued an executive order which, among other things, banned the travel of nationals from seven different countries that were deemed unsafe. Currently, this executive order has been suspended by a federal judge in Washington. Trump has been adamant on his position, and has appealed this action by the judge, but the judge has refused to reinstate the ban.  

As a South Korean citizen, Trump’s travel ban has not affected me directly. The countries which were on the ban list are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump has titled his executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” According to an article in the New York Times, there have been no terrorists from the nations listed on the ban since the 9/11 attacks, which happened in 2001.

The NYT article concludes: “the president’s order appears to address not a rational calculation of risks but the visceral fears that terrorists set out to inflame.” I whole-heartedly agree that a government should do what it must to protect its citizens. However, I personally believe the direction President Trump has taken is clearly not the right approach.

I am not afraid—giving into fear is always the worst choice possible. However, I am on guard, wary of recent developments.

“But, Purun, you’re not from one of the seven countries, why are you being so sensitive?” I have already heard this question after I said that I was cautious. Who would have guessed that America, the country of dreams, the country of immigrants, would one day have so much debate over refugees and immigrants?

Calvin College has taken steps to reassure its international students here. When I went and spoke with the immigration counselor here at Calvin, I was able to get detailed, accurate information of what was happening and how it would or would not affect me. In addition, in an email sent out by President Le Roy to the entirety of Calvin, he wrote that Calvin would stand by its international students.

Although I am a little concerned, I am grateful that I am at an institution that cares deeply about its students. I hope that as time progresses, the extreme polarity between liberals and conservatives no longer exist, and that people can see others as human beings first.

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NOTE: The statements above reflect my own personal opinion. One of the great things about Calvin is that students, faculty and staff hold many different political opinions and enjoy having respectful conversations on relevant issues.