Travel ban students still face fear, separation from family

Abby Currie

While the recent executive order for a travel ban allows international students from banned countries to stay and continue their studies at Colorado State University, the ban does not allow family from those countries to visit.

On Sept. 24, 2017, Donald Trump issued a proclamation titled, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.”


The proclamation is a follow up to an executive order released on March 6, 2017. The executive order was issued in order “to protect the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.”

There are eight countries included in the proclamation. These countries include Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia.

Each of these countries have their own restrictions on Visas, and an explanation of why the country is included on the list, provided in the proclamation.

Mark Hallett, the senior director of international student and scholarship services at Colorado State University said if a student is at Colorado State with a Visa they can stay and study. The problem that arises with the ban is family visits.

Ahmed Farah, a freshman at CSU has three siblings in Somalia, including a sister who returned to Somalia to get married. His siblings will not be able to see him graduate.

“My mom hasn’t seen a lot of her children for a long time,” Farah said. “It’s hard for her because she says she’s ‘aging’, and I have little siblings now too.”

Farah said a lot of people have lost their family in Somalia’s civil war. Farah said he is thankful his family lives in Kismayo, Somalia’s capital, because they avoided some of the bombing that way. Farah said his mother is afraid to visit, because she there is fear she might not be able to come back.

“She has to stay up until 4 am just to talk to everybody,” Farah said. “When that bomb happened like a week ago she had to call everybody to see if they were okay, if they got affected. A lot of her friends and relatives died or are missing.”

Farah himself was born in Kenya, and currently has a sister who lives there.

According to Farah, his mother applied as a refugee in 1984. It wasn’t until 2009, after living in a refugee camp, that Ahmed and his family were able to move to the U.S.


While in Kenya, Farah said, he lived in a predominately Somali, primarily Islamic, camp.

Farah said he visited his family two years ago. He has permanent residency, and upon return had no trouble getting back into the States.

Farah has applied and is waiting for citizenship.

According to Farah his mom wanted to bring their family to the U.S. for the opportunity.

“I think America is always going to be viewed as the land of the free,” Farah said. “A lot of people want to live here. They want to seek better opportunities not just for themselves but for their children, for their wives, for their sisters.

Farah said the noose scared him into avoiding the Newsom hall for a while. He said it is hard to be in a predominately white school, where things like that happen.

Farah said he wishes people in America had a better understanding of the worldly current events and media plays a big role in that understanding.

“I think Twitter does more than the news,” Farah said. “More people from our generation speaking up about (current events). They’re talking about it. They’re encouraging more people to realize what’s happening.”

Hallett said the first travel ban caught some students. In one instance, a student was trying to come back and spent several days in the Jordan airport.

Hallett said his office has worked very closely with the University president’s office, hiring attorneys to be able to protect these students.

David Lane, a civil rights attorney, said people who are here from the banned countries are deeply affected.

“If they leave, if they go home, are they going to be able to come back?” Lane said. “There’s a great deal of uncertainty among those it directly impacts. That’s going to have to be sorted by the courts.”

Joey Bunch, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, covered the protest at Denver International Airport when the travel ban was first announced in January.

According to Bunch, the travel ban seems to single out Muslims. Through his coverage he has seen a pattern of fear, as well as a need to separate the facts from the fear. Bunch said he has worked as a reporter for 36 years.

“This is such a war of words and philosophies,” Bunch said. “They are saying the same things they said during the civil rights movement, in the south.”

Lane defended the DIA protestors in federal court. The Denver police told the protestors they did not have the right to protest and threatened to arrest everyone. When they went to court, the federal judge said the protestors indeed had the right to protest.

According to Lane there is an urgency in law that hasn’t existed in several years.

“When you have a president, who is as ignorant as our president and as dangerous as our president and as unconcerned about the constitution as our president, everyone’s civil rights are in serious jeopardy,” Lane said.

Lane said the government leads by example.

“When Donald Trump gives permission for U.S. policy to be based on country of origin or religion or race, he gives permission for those elements in our society to come out of the woodwork and just do the things that we’ve seen in Charlottesville, for example,” Lane said. “Donald Trump and his racism can enable the lower elements of society to feel free to come out and spew their hatred.”

Joe Salazar is another civil rights attorney. He has worked in the field for 14 years.

In that time Salazar has seen patterns.

“Discrimination has increased,” Salazar said. “Retaliation has increased, over the years The patterns that we are seeing are concerning, rather than providing a hopeful feeling about the future.”

Lane said it is three steps forward, one step back.

“It’s just a constant struggle,” Lane said. “The government is constantly seeking to cut back on our civil rights. And the lessons of history are quickly forgotten by the ignorance of society. The old adage, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

According to Salazar the travel ban has been struck down as unconstitutional in the past. It is now in front of the Supreme Court and Justice Kennedy will be an important vote in the case.

“Better minds will prevail at the Supreme Court level,” Salazar said.


Lane said it is important to never give up on civil rights.

“Anybody who is as outraged by what’s going on is this country as I am needs to live by the philosophy – that just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do anything,” Lane said. “Get involved. Protest. Resist. Every chance you get.”

Collegian reporter Abby Currie can be reached at or on Twitter @abcchic15.