‘Fear is the biggest response I’ve gotten’: We spoke with Ithaca’s International senator on Trump’s travel ban

International students affected by the travel ban were too afraid to speak with us due to security

It’s been a few weeks since President Trump passed the Executive immigration order where he has banned entry from seven-majority Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

People from around the world have reacted in protests, several lawsuits under way in federal courts, and warnings being sent out by several universities and schools.

We spoke with IC International student senator, Isabella Grullon on how the international community has been responding and how IC is helping those affected.

International student senator, Isabella Grullon.

What kind of reactions have you been getting from international students affected by the executive immigration order?

In all honesty, fear is the biggest response I’ve gotten. Most people are concerned about their visas, which currently allow them to work up to a year after graduation in the states. President Trump is threatening to take that away, which has a lot of students reconsidering their entire plan after college because they don’t know if they’ll be able to stay in the country. With the immigration ban on Muslims, some of our students who come from one of the seven countries on the list are obviously concerned about going home, others are waiting to see if more and more countries make it on the list. Right now anything is possible and there is just an air of uncertainty in the international community.

President Tom Rochon addressed a statement on the college’s plans to help students and staff affected. Do you think they’re doing enough in this case?

I do believe the necessary steps are being taken, especially given that Public Safety is not enforcing immigration law and the school is respecting all those under DACA. Right now it’s the best reaction. I also appreciate the highlight on everything the Office of International Programs and Extended Studies (OIPES) is doing. There is a great group of people there actively working not only to make sure that International Students are safe in this administration, but that anyone with immigration concerns or issues can stay informed.

How do you plan on helping these students?

Right now my main focus is on getting people to talk. I don’t believe that keeping worries bottled up inside helps at all. We are a tight-knit community,  and I want to make us even closer because right now people need support. Policy wise, I intended on helping the sponsors of the Sanctuary bill as best I can with contacting people and providing information. The main focus now is making sure people feel somewhat safe and assuring the international community that Ithaca College is already taking steps for the safety of those on visas, not on visas, DREAMers, etc.

Now that IC and the city of Ithaca are sanctuary places, do you think there will be enough resources to help those affected?

I feel that there are because it’s only the second week of the semester and we already see support of public safety in making this a Sanctuary Campus. We are also lucky to live in such a welcoming community which has also promised to be a safe space. I think we will all — as a campus and community — pull together to find the resources if it comes to that. It’s a great little city we have.

Ithaca College