Daemen talks politics: How students and faculty analyze Trump’s seven-nation ban

A view of Alumni Lounge in the Wick Center of Daemen College. Photo credit: Evan Coyle

On Jan. 27,  President Donald Trump signed an executive order entitled “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES.

Reaction to the order has varied.  Throughout the country, people have been speaking out against and in support of the order. Individuals in government have been some of the first people to respond to the presidential action.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan defended the order saying, “President Trump is right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country.”

New York Senator Chuck Schumer took a different perspective saying, “This executive order was mean-spirited and un-American” and he added through tears that “It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the Country.”

Daemen College President Gary Olson addressed campus Monday, Jan. 30 with a letter referencing the recent executive order signed into law by President Trump.

President Olson noted that the executive order barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States, “has caused a great deal of turmoil and confusion on college campuses throughout the nation.”

Though no individuals associated with Daemen College have been directly “affected by this order,” President Olson assured the Daemen Community that “several of our elected officials,” to whom he met with in Washington DC, “have expressed a readiness to respond if we need their assistance.”

President Olson closed out his campus wide letter by reaffirming a shared “commitment to diversity,” and pledging to support “all members of our community who may be affected by this order in the future.”

President Olson’s words have not stood alone.  Students and professors alike have been vocal when it comes to their views and knowledge in concert with President Trump’s executive order.

Political scientist and Daemen professor Jay Wendland,weighed in on the executive order saying, that the “unnecessary confusion” was due in part to the speed in which the order was implemented.

He continued, “Trump tried to act swiftly to fulfill a campaign promise.  However, because of his inexperience in American government, he acted too quickly without consulting with members of his cabinet.”

Wendland states furthermore that the, “Legislative process was not designed for speed and efficiency”, rather “It was designed to be slow and arduous in an effort to bring public opinion into the discussion, with our leaders expected to ultimately decide what is in the country’s best interest.”

Speaking as someone with a degree centered in political behavior, Wendland suggests that opinions pertaining to the executive order have shifted in a short period of time.

Professor Wendland cites two separate Quinnipiac University national polls.

A poll conducted prior to the ban showed that Americans supported “suspending immigration from ‘terror prone’ regions, even if it means turning away refugees from those regions4” by a margin of 48 – 42 percent.

Shortly after the executive order was signed, Quinnipiac released another poll showing that American voters opposed President Trump’s order “suspending for 90 days all travel to the US from seven nations4.” The margin in this poll was 51 – 46 percent.

This poll among other reputable public opinion surveys taken after the executive order shows that a majority of the Country opposes the order.

Political opinion is subject to change, this issue among others centered in national security may very well be reshaped through political discourse and the occurrence of terrorism foreign and domestic.

Wendland ties the messy roll out of this order to the questions that were left unanswered by the trump Administration,

“For example, were green card holders from these seven banned countries allowed to travel outside of the country and, most importantly, get back into the United States,” he asks.

Wendland acknowledges that even though the Daemen community was not directly implicated by the executive order, there are still strong opinions on the subject.

“It still leads to anxiety for some students and faculty that are from countries in close proximity to those included in the ban as well as those that practice the Muslim faith,” he said.

Professor Laurie Walsh, a former practicing attorney at law and current Daemen professor, commented on the legal side of President Trump’s executive order.

She began by acknowledging the state of Washington who “challenged the constitutionality of the order”. Walsh explains that the state claimed the order violated the First Amendment “by discriminating on the basis of religion”. The state also claimed that the Fifth Amendment was violated, asserting that “the order denies certain persons the right to enter the US without a proper hearing”.

On Feb. 3, a federal district judge in Washington State granted the state a temporary restraining order (TRO) to “put an emergency stop to the executive order”.

Walsh emphasizes, “This court proceeding did not decide whether the order was constitutional or not.” She continued, “The purpose of asking for a TRO is just to preserve the status quo until the court can conduct a more thorough hearing to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction”.

Walsh says that the argument of the state was that the executive order would cause “irreparable harm” in a number of areas including employment and education.

The Daemen professor said that in terms of employment “Washington has a lot of tech companies that employ people from all over the world”. With regard to education, the state argued that there is significant concern for “foreign students attending colleges”.

Walsh continued her legal analysis saying, “the US government then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Washington State District Courts”.

On Feb. 4, the Ninth Circuit said they would not eliminate the TRO.  That being said, the court allowed for both sides to “quickly provide detailed discussions of the law supporting their positions.”

The court listened to both parties as part of a reconsideration “to stay the TRO on Feb. 7”

 Walsh notes, however, that despite the courts willingness to reconsider, “On Feb. 9, the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed its decision not to lift the TRO on the executive order.

It is unclear at the time of this writing what future actions the Trump Administration will pursue.  After the 9th circuit Courts ruling President Trump tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” This raises the inference that Trump may choose to appeal the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the US Supreme Court.

Comments that Trump made to reporters on Friday, Feb. 10 fueled speculation of different approach.  Trump said to reporters, “We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand-new order.”

Ultimately, time will tell whether the administration takes its case to the Supreme Court or crafts a new executive order. In the meantime, individuals on both sides of the debate hold their breath on an issue that has defined the early days of the Trump presidency.

Many Daemen students have been vocal when it comes to their political opinions on this matter.  An issue termed “divisive” by many in the media as has not deterred students from ‘talking Politics.’

Two students offered their opinions but asked to remain anonymous.

A Daemen student who identifies as a Libertarian said that though he supports Trump in many respects, he has “serious reservations” in regard to the recent executive order.

The student disagreed with the order on account that he believes “Trump stepped too far,” stressing his view of limited government.

The Daemen freshman added that he didn’t think the order was “unconstitutional” and that he understood that the intention of the order as a means to “protect against threats.”

Another Daemen student and practicing Muslim argued that the “primary reason for the order is religion.”

The student expressed a broad sense of concern over President Trump’s style of governing saying, that “you never know what he will do next.”

The student exhibited an expression of empathy while discussing the experience that one of his friends attending the University of Buffalo had dealt with at the hands of Trump’s travel ban.

He said that the student is “originally from Iran” and that the order while in affect “prevented his parents from visiting him.” According to the Daemen student, this deeply troubled the University of Buffalo student.

The Daemen student expressed appreciation of a letter addressed from President Olson, to the Daemen Community on Friday Feb. 10, saying that he was “glad he did that.”

The letter to which the student referenced was a correspondence from President Gary Olson, outlining “increased incidents of racial intolerance” on college campuses across the country.

The President of Daemen College cited the College’s non-discrimination policy as a means of prevention, and urged everyone in the Daemen community to “Continue to make Daemen College one of the safest and most welcoming campuses in the nation!”

Lastly, the Daemen student and proud Muslim said that even though Muslims make up a small amount of the College demographic, “Everyone is very nice and supporting” and that he has not experienced any bias or negativity while attending Daemen College.

From the President on down, Daemen College remains actively engaged in a conversation that has triggered much of the current political discourse in the United States.

1 Comment on "Daemen talks politics: How students and faculty analyze Trump’s seven-nation ban"

  1. Thank you to Professors Walsh, and Wendland for their contributions.

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