Haynes seeks to ease fears for foreign college students, staff

Haynes seeks to ease fears for foreign college students, staff
Cal State University San Marcos President Karen Haynes issues a statement to students, faculty and staff seeking to alleviate fears over President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders. Photo by Rebecca Sykes

SAN MARCOS — President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders to block entry or reentry into the United States, for 90 days, for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, have promoted fear for many, including a local college student.

This week, California State University San Marcos President Karen Haynes released a statement to the students, faculty and staff addressing those fears.

The statement discusses the immigration order and the border wall Trump promised between the United States and Mexico. Haynes states the order is not clear but the CSU Chancellor’s Office is looking into the impact on their students, faculty and staff.

However, Haynes recommends international students, faculty and staff that are from those seven countries listed by the executive order, to be cautious when traveling, and promotes not to travel outside of the United States.

Haynes said that university’s police department would not “contact, detain, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis of being or suspected of being undocumented.”

The complete policy can be viewed at csusm.edu/police/ice.html.

Haynes finished the statement by stating: “Together we must continue to uphold the deep sense of caring and community that we all value so much. Together we are CSUSM.”

Shaymaa Abusalih, a senior studying literature and writing, and a Muslim, is fearful for what might happen due to Trump’s orders.

“Trump’s actions have caused me to fear for my life and safety as well as that of my family and friends,” Abusalih said. “I have family in Sudan that I visit every other year and that might not be an option anymore, and visiting them has been a part of my life since I was a baby. It’s my home.”

Abusalih said she felt hopeless initially, as though there was something closing in on me.

“I’m an American citizen but also Sudanese and I’m afraid I might be a target politically and socially for not being ‘American’ enough,” she added.

Abusalih believes Trump is accomplishing everything he promised, which she said is frightening.

“Other than the obvious results, the executive orders that have been signed into action this past week or so, have proved something extremely unsettling… For once, we have a president who will do exactly what he says he’ll do, down to a tee and it’s terrifying. People feel exposed to a hate that has been growing in silence.”

However, Abusalih is not giving up for a better future.

“And my greatest fear is that we won’t have a voice in the years to come. That with a stroke of his pen, Trump will bind and gag and expel all that made this country worth our pride in it. All that made my parents believe that there was a better life to be had in the United States of America. I’m scared. I’m exhausted emotionally. But I’m not backing down and I’m certainly not going anywhere. And the people who wish to see better in this country should do the same because one man is nothing against the People.”

Lillian Rossmann, a professor of Communications, hadn’t yet discussed the order with her students. However, she sees students actively participating in politics.

“There are the ‘usual suspects’ — students of color, DACA, women, students with disabilities — who will always be involved,” she said. “His (Trump’s) policies seem so capricious that others who weren’t involved before are now seeing that their voice is needed to make a change,” said Rossmann.

Rossmann does believe Haynes’ message was issued for students and faculty to feel safe and welcomed.

“The CSUSM president issued a statement that I think captures what many people are feeling. We need kindness and compassion,” Rossmann added.

According to CSU Mentor, CSUSM is home to 39.6 percent Hispanic/Latino students, which is the highest percentage for a race at CSUSM seeking their undergraduate degrees.

There are currently two international students on student visas from Iran and another student on a nonresident dependent visa from Iran at CSUSM. The university is encouraging people to check out CSUSM’s FAQ page for updates on the executive order and travel concerns at csusm.edu/global/.

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