Muslim student worries for family

Muslim student worries for family

Dylan Bryant, Reporter

The political battle making headlines around the world is separating families here in Bakersfield. Huda, 22, is a Bakersfield College student whose parents came here from Yemen in hopes of building a new life for themselves.

When war broke out in 2015, Huda’s family in Yemen began fearing for their safety, and started applications with the United Nations to come to the United States as refugees. They had hoped they could be reunited with their family here. But that hope has dissipated since President Trump took office.

On Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order placing a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations, halting the admission of Muslim refugees from these countries, and placing a permanent ban on refugees from Syria.

Following protests at airports nationwide, a constitutional challenge to the order was upheld by a 9th circuit court of appeals panel.

On Feb. 9, the panel ruled unanimously in favor of the Washington State Attorney General, who had appealed to halt the implementation of the executive order on the grounds that the ban constituted a religious test and thus violated the First Amendment.  The decision came as a victory to groups fighting the ban in court, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The President reacted quickly to the decision, tweeting “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”. Since then, the White House has apparently backed off the legal battle, stating that a new executive order may be coming instead.

But all of this political infighting and tweeting is lost on those impacted most by the decision, like Huda’s aunts in Yemen. Huda thinks the ban is “terrible,” but it hasn’t changed her perception of America as a whole, a place she still sees as a “land of opportunity.”

“The actions of one guy don’t change the entire country,” she said. But it has changed her perception of the president, whose campaign platform about a Muslim ban worried her before he took office.

But while students affected by the ban find it abhorrent, those whose lives remain unchanged

seem unconcerned. Naqaa, Maarah, and Eradah, students whose families also immigrated from Yemen, didn’t seem too concerned about the order. The women seem unengaged by political questions, but shared their opinions.

Naqaa, 19, said this “isn’t that much different than what Americans always do, messing with people abroad. As long as they aren’t targeting us, Americans, then I’ll be okay. I’m not in a camp, yet.”

One of the women said she still has family in Yemen, a cousin, but “he can wait another four years,” she joked.