By Mackenzie Farkus
Dozens of people were detained in airports around the country and left stranded at airports abroad after President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring travelers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the U.S. While regular travelers are barred for 90 days, refugees will be barred for 120 days and Syrian refugees will be barred indefinitely.
Two federal judges in Boston have temporarily halted Trump’s executive order as of Sunday morning, although many travelers and refugees are still stuck in other countries. Marchers gathered in Chinatown to walk to the State House together on Saturday, while protesters and volunteer lawyers gathered at Logan International Airport on Saturday and Sunday to advocate for the release of detainees. The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized a rally in Copley Square on Sunday, which City Councillor Tito Jackson, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh attended.
“We will not turn away people who try to help Americans,” Senator Warren said to protesters on Sunday. “We will not turn away anyone because of their religion.”
Many colleges and universities in the Boston area have been reaching out to government officials to help bring back international students, researchers, and teachers that have been affected by Trump’s executive order.
In 2015, the Institute of International Education listed Boston as the metro area with the third highest number of international students at 47,895, while Massachusetts ranks fourth nationally.
During the 2015-2016 school year, more than 17,000 students from the 7 countries with travel bans were enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, according to the Institute of International Education. More than 2,000 teachers and researchers from the countries work for U.S. colleges and universities as well.
President Helen Drinan released a statement via email on Monday reiterating the values that she committed to in December of last year in regards to demands that Simmons College become a sanctuary campus.
“For members of the community who are feeling scared and worried, please know that we are here for you and stand ready to support you in any way that we can,” President Drinan said. “I pledge the cooperation of every office on campus; all doors are open to you, and I encourage you to reach out if you believe we can assist you.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also released a statement in response to Trump’s ban, emphasizing the large international population of Boston and calling for unity.
“Massachusetts is a global community. We all benefit from the shared experiences of our partners from around the world. Our education, healthcare, business, and public sector institutions rely on these relationships to deliver on their missions every single day,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement on Sunday. “The federal government’s recent decision puts this at risk and I believe focusing on countries’ predominant religions will not make the country safer as terrorists have showed they intend to strike from across the world.”