Petition against travel ban gains educators’ support

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue educators are speaking out against an executive order signed by President Donald Trump last week.

Just a week into his presidency, President Trump signed an executive order regarding immigration in the United States. Included in the order is a 90-day ban of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S.

The news has triggered a variety of responses.

“This is a ban on perspective travel from countries, trying to prevent terrorists in this country from countries that have a recent history of training and exporting and harboring terrorists,” presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway said.

“This effort is not just unconstitutional, and un-American and wrong-headed,” ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said. “We think it’s also something that will go down in history as one of the worst moments for American foreign policy and American immigration policy.”

Educators from around the country are also standing their ground by signing a petition, asking the president to reconsider what’s outlined in the order.

By Sunday evening, more than 4,800 people had signed the Academics Against Immigration Executive Order petition. More than three dozen of those individuals have ties to Purdue University.

Associate professor of psychological sciences Sebastien Helie was one of them.

“I was shocked when [Trump] signed the executive order because I was aware that he ran on promises like these, but I’m surprised that he would actually do them,” Helie said. “I thought they were empty rhetoric to get elected.”

Purdue University says 100 of its 40,000 students are from the countries included in the executive order. On top of that, ten faculty members hail from those countries.

Associate history professor Dawn Marsh also signed the petition and says immigrants helped shape the U.S. into what it is today.

“So much of this is people being afraid for their safety and about terrorism in the United States,” Marsh said. “If you look at it in a really hard and cold way, most of the terrorism and the violence that’s taken place on the home soil here hasn’t come from any foreign entity, it’s come from domestic extremists that are here doing the violence.”

Marsh said the Legislation could have an impact on Purdue.

“We’re an international campus. We pride ourselves on international students from all over the world,” she said. “There are students right now on our campus and faculty members who have a status that is now threatened, should they leave. Will they ever be able to come back? We’re going to lose intellect, creativity and the arts, the humanities, the sciences, the technology.”

“A lot of citizens of these countries [who are] studying or teaching at Purdue are making great contributions to science and are good people,” Helie said. “I think that it’s important that they’re able to keep doing this for themselves and also for the U.S.”

Purdue president Mitch Daniels issued a statement Sunday.

In it he said:

“The President’s order related to immigration is a bad idea, poorly implemented, and I hope that he will promptly revoke and rethink it. If the idea is to strengthen the protection of Americans against terrorism, there are many far better ways to achieve it.”

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