Eight PCC students returned to classes this past week with support from International Student Services and the administration after being detained and banned from re-entry to the U.S. due to January’s travel ban from President Trump.
On Jan. 27, Trump issued an executive order with a 90-day entry ban for citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
“We had eight students impacted by the travel ban. The travel ban was implemented on a weekend—on the first workday afterwards, the college sent out a notice to the campus, and I sent text messages to the International Student Office (ISO) over the weekend of the ban to ask that they contact the students and offer support,” Vice President of Student Services Cynthia Olivo told the Courier by email.
“We remained in regular contact with the students. As soon as the ban was stopped, we contacted the students to encourage them to return.”
President-Superintendent Rajen Vurdien told the Courier by email that Olivo and Amy Yan, assistant director of International Student Services, went to the airport to pick up the final students last week and offered a warm welcome back to PCC.
After the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled against reinstating the travel ban, the Trump administration vowed to produce a new travel ban with changes.
CNN reported that Trump planned to delay the new travel ban following his first state of the union address because they felt a new executive order would undercut the positive coverage his address received.
Students across PCC’s campus told the Courier that they feared the possible repercussions of a new executive order.
PCC student Chezliah Osman said that she felt she needed to do more outreach to people to explain her Muslim faith and beliefs to stem the tide of people who believe she is a terrorist by association.
“I think we as Muslims take responsibility for not being as vocal as I think we should have been. I feel that we need to be a bit more united and bring a better image of ourselves,” Osman said.
“Just being active in our own communities and showing people that this is not how all Muslims are.”
Another PCC student, Marissa Robles, expressed frustration at not only the travel ban, but the immigration fight in general.
“A human being should not be illegal, no matter what their skin color is. It just bothers me,” Robles said.
Olivo told the Courier in relation to the detained students that it was initially difficult for them to consider what they would have done with their rented apartments, personal belongings and how they would have finished their education at PCC, had they not been allowed back into the country.
“The students know they can turn to ISO, Student Life or my office for assistance should they run into any challenges and they are all settled back into classes now,” Olivo said.
Olivo declined to release the names of the eight students due to privacy concerns and to allow the students to focus on their studies without interruption.
“Thankfully, they are aware that we as a college appreciate that they selected PCC and we are here to support them in achieving their educational goals—as we are for all students,” Olivo said.
The Academic Senate approved a resolution at their Feb. 27 meeting stating that the college would not comply with the federal government regarding a Muslim registry or any registry regarding undocumented students.
The resolution also stated that professors would not cooperate with any Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and instead refer them to a school supervisor.
While PCC has actively taken a stand to support all of its students, Osman was still visibly upset at the prospect of a new travel ban and possible Muslim registry.
“I dont think its fair. It’s frustrating that we’re being targeted and generalized as an entire people,” Osman said. “There are like 1.3 billion muslims around the world. Just because a few people did certain actions doesn’t mean we’re all terrorists.”
If you or someone you know was affected by the travel ban please contact the Courier to share your story.