Officials push the breaks on travel ban
Leaders, students speak out against “unconstitutional move” by president
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The recent executive order on immigration from newly inaugurated President Donald Trump has sent shockwaves throughout Boston and the nation. Boston officials such as Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey have become vocal on their disapproval that could ultimately affect those who reside throughout the Commonwealth as well as the thousands of international students who travel to Boston to receive an education in America’s “college town.” Some of these comments from officials have gone as far as a lawsuit that Healey’s office announced against Trump to challenge the executive order last week.
Solicitor General of Washington State Noah Purcell announced on Tuesday night that the federal government has “flip-flopped” on how it defines the executive order and who it also includes.
The Department of Homeland Security announced on Saturday that it suspended all actions to implement the immigration ban and said that it will continue the standard inspections of travelers that were conducted prior to the executive order being signed.
Suffolk University’s Acting President Marisa Kelly, who holds the top office of a university that bears an international population of 23 percent, offered comments to the Suffolk community in an email affirming the university’s support to those students affected by the ban. Members of the Student Government Association’s executive board such as President Sean Walsh and Vice President Daniel Gazzani commended Kelly’s efforts.
The executive order included an immediate ban of all refugees from Syria and on seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States for 90 days, including the war-torn country of Syria. Some Suffolk students that are directly affected by the ban have remained silent under fear. Assistant Provost of the Division of Student Success Kathy Sparaco told a Journal reporter last week that Suffolk has nine students from the affected countries. Despite the national support, some of these students have declined to be interviewed by The Suffolk Journal because of their concerns for themselves and their student visas. In the Interfaith Center’s weekly “Muslim Conversations,” the travel ban has been recently discussed within the group’s circle.
The metro colleges in Boston had a total of 47,895 total international students in 2015, according to a report by the Institute of International Education.
Senior broadcast journalism major Matt Durkin said it was the “right thing to do” when Healey challenged Trump’s order and Kelly stood by Suffolk’s diverse community.
“Boston is one of the founding cities of America that was built on diversity and has a world class education that attracts people from all over the world,” said Durkin in an interview on Tuesday night.
On the weekend that the executive order was signed, demonstrations erupted throughout the United States’ major cities and inside airports alongside those who waited for loved ones to be released from detainment. In Boston, government officials had joined passionate protestors at Logan International Airport including Walsh, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and City Councilor of District 7 and mayoral candidate Tito Jackson. Each of them were stationed at different terminals and roared dialogues that continued the resistance against Trump. The following morning, another protest ruptured around Copley Square, where these same politicians were scattered in the crowds of citizens in a display of objection toward the White House, which was hosted by the Council of American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC).
Massachusetts officials from either side of the political spectrum have expressed support of these actions against the new president, including republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
“Massachusetts is a global community and we all benefit from the shared experiences of our partners from around the world to support our economy and educational institutions to make our state the best place to live, work and raise a family,” said Baker in a recent statement. “The recent executive order puts this at risk, will not improve our security, and the lack of guidance associated with such an abrupt and overwhelming decision is problematic for all involved.”
The governor, who was recently criticized for “not voting” in the 2016 presidential election but criticized Trump when the now president was a candidate, explained in the statement that his administration has worked with the Attorney General’s office in the lawsuit against Trump and supports Healey’s choice to challenge the executive order.
“We look forward to the courts resolving this matter expeditiously,” said Baker, who did not vote for Trump in the primaries.
The governor continued to urge others to take a stronger stance to support the bill called the “Safe Communities Act” that has called for “no state support” for a Muslim registry and also bans any arrangements for federal officials to authorize local law enforcement officials as immigration agents.
Former intern for Senator Warren and Massachusetts native Nicholas Lepore said that Healey has served as a “knight of the rule of law,” and has shown “unmatchable courage in the face of injustice.
“This ban is unequivocally unconstitutional based on the Establishment, Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution,” said Lepore. “The Rule of Law, even when pushed the farthest limits, will always preserve justice above the prejudices of our executive.”
In a recent interview, Councilor Jackson explained to Journal reporters that the Boston Police Department will not act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers as Boston is a home that welcomes people from across the globe. Jackson emphasized that it was important for women to be able to pick up the phone and call the police if they were sexually assaulted and for immigrant families to report a burglary, no matter if these people were undocumented immigrants or not.
“I do not use the word ‘illegal’ because we are all citizens of the world,” said Jackson.
Jackson told The Journal that the president has “complete and total disregard for the American Constitution” and displayed that in his recent executive order. He said that the “City of Boston would have the right to sue the federal government.”
The Councilor explained that the ban against those from international communities will cause a downward attendance of Boston’s major colleges, an attendance that is crucial to the city of Boston and its universities.