HOUGHTON — Last night we brought you the story on how President Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban travel from several countries to the U.S. is impacting local students. Tonight, we have part II.
Though the President says his executive order will allow the U.S. to review its vetting process, what about those who are already here and contributing to our community?
Ausama Al-Shammari is an exchange student from Iraq and the travel ban means hisplans are on hold, including returning home to attend his brother’s wedding.
Al-Shammari said, “So now I cannot go anywhere. I have to stay here. I have to think about the news, I have to watch the news and see what’s going to happen next. This takes a lot of my time which may even affect my academic standing.”
This is Al-Shammari’s second trip as a cultural exchange student and he says this move by the U.S. will negatively impact both countries.
Al-Shammari’s said, “Thousands of students are coming here to study and exchange cultures. If this was cut, there will be no exchange of cultures anymore and there will still be misunderstandings and misconceptions about both.”
Michigan Tech assistant professor of mechanical engineering Mahdi Shahbakhti originally to the U.S. from Iran 2010. He has seen how the ban has affected not only the international students from the seven countries, but the student body as a whole.
Shahbakhti said, “We have a famous Persian poem that says that when parts of the body got into pain, the other parts also feel that pain, and I can see that this is happening and so you created that shock to say this to students from the seven countries, but the impact of the shock goes actually to more beyond that.”
For Shahbakhti, he is affected more than just professionally from the ban. He’s three children were born in the U.S., but what message does this send to them?
Shahbakhti said, “Seeing that nationality being mixed with the terrorism, I’m worried that my children-they will be hesitating to consider part of their heritage of their family. So I wanted my children to be proud of their heritage, saying their father has come from Iran.”
Shahbakhti says the ban has created an unwelcomed environment for all immigrants coming to the United States.