By YOUSUF ALI, Opinions Editor
On Jan. 27, 2017, President Trump confirmed everyone’s worst fears and signed an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq and Syria. This put to rest any vestiges of hope that the president, in fact, had no intention of fulfilling his most xenophobic campaign promises. This order came along with another one authorizing the construction of his infamous wall along the Mexican-U.S. border. Thankfully, just as the administration hit the ground running with its pernicious agenda, so came the resistance. Almost immediately, countless protests and lawsuits were filed against the president and his travel ban. This included thousands of people assembling at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) two days after the executive order was signed. While the Office of the President deserves the respect of every American, loyal citizens must make our voices heard when we see its powers so blatantly abused by its current occupant.
Among the protesters at DTW, there were several UM-Dearborn students. I had the pleasure of corresponding with one of those students, Susan Jenin Yaseen. Initially, she and her group were deeply upset by the ban and thought it could personally affect them, but she became more than reassured when she saw the extent of the protests. “It all began to change when we arrived and saw a huge amount of people defending us. We got emotional again, and it took a while for us to chant without tearing up. I was amazed and impressed with the amount of love coming from such a diverse group of people- White, Black, Chinese, Indian, Persian, Asian, Latino. I no longer felt alone, and for the first time in a long time, I felt a sense of security here. I am honestly so grateful for everyone that came out to defend us. It has helped me realize that I could never live anywhere else, I want to stay here and do what I can for this community.” Within Yaseen’s statement lies the key to surviving the next four years- solidarity.
If there is one positive thing that came out of last year’s election, it was a sense of urgency, and from that urgency, has come unprecedented action. Whether or not one likes the new president, one cannot afford to ignore him. He occupies the most powerful position in the world, which literally includes the ability to destroy it via nuclear codes. As such, he must be reminded time and time again that he does not represent the will of the people, as he lost the popular vote despite his repeated lies about voter fraud. Rather than heal those divisions, he has only inflamed them through his actions as president. Therefore all those who value the highest ideals must continue the great displays of resistance in whichever the form they can. This is not simply through protesting. That’s only half of the battle. One can donate to organizations like the ACLU or CAIR which have already taken legal action against the travel ban. Indeed, it is within the courts that the people’s fates are truly decided as the ban was suspended by a “so-called judge” until its legality and constitutionality are decided. Or better yet, college students could go to law school and study immigration law or civil rights. I’m sure there will be no shortage of work in the years to come. Whatever one does, one must not be complacent in the face of such blatant attacks on our rights and freedoms from the one tasked with defending it.
If anyone who didn’t vote for Trump was planning on “giving him a chance”, his first two weeks in office have proven to be the worst. Not only has he done nothing to unify the country, but his actions have revealed a dark vision for the country. Naturally, those who care about the future have manifested their opposition to these policies. It is only through such actions that this country can maintain any claim to moral authority. The Muslim ban will definitely not be the last such example which people will have to resist. When such things come to past, we must be ready.