By John Kearney
Students and faculty at DCCC’s Marple Campus recently responded to President Donald Trump’s alleged statement identifying African nations and Haiti as “sh-thole countries.”
President Trump met with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) to discuss a bipartisan immigration proposal made in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus on Jan. 11. The proposal aimed to give preference of 50 percent of lottery visas awarded to people from Africa and Temporary Protected Status nations, such as Haiti and El Salvador.
Trump questioned the proposal, saying, “Why do we want more people from sh-thole countries,” according to several lawmakers at the meeting. The Washington Post was the first source to report on the comment.
Tanya Gardner, a communications professor and coordinator of the Intercultural Friendship Program at the college, is worried about the possible negative effects the statement could have on the sustainability and health of the college environment.
“One of the many strengths of our College community is our diversity,” Gardner said. “These comments undermine our College’s international student recruitment efforts.”
Dr. Ife Williams, a DCCC political science professor, said she was not surprised by the president’s statement. “The sad part is that he says this in the middle of the immigration debate,” Williams said. “It is truly sad that the president has this view. He wants to send Haitians back, and Mexicans back, and El Salvadorans back. He favors certain classes and ethnic groups.”
Some DCCC students offered their reactions to Trump’s immigration statements and policies. Mohammed Ziyan Aslam, a 19-year-old immigrant from India, born in Saudi Arabia, said he packs lightly when travelling home.
“I would not bring a computer to and from a place when I travel,” Aslam said. “I will get held in customs for four or five hours.”
Other students said they have taken his comments personally, despite not being from the countries he regarded as “sh-tholes.”
Vitoria Mota, a 22-year-old foreign-exchange student from Brazil, said she felt welcomed by the people of the United States, but not the president.
“He is the major image of the country,” Mota said. “He should not treat people from other countries like this.”
Trump has taken a nationalistic approach to immigration. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, he outlined his “Four Pillar Plan” for immigration.
The first pillar is “a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought here by their parents,” said Trump in regards to immigrants benefiting from The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), otherwise known as “dreamers.”
The second pillar aims to “fully secure the border” between Central America and the United States by creating the border wall he promised while campaigning for the presidency.
The third pillar aims to end the Visa Lottery, which grants 50,000 immigrants citizenship out of approximately 20,000,000 applicants from across the globe annually.
The fourth pillar seeks to put an end to what Republicans call “chain migration,” the opportunity for immigrants to obtain citizenship through sponsorship by a family member who is currently a citizen.
Congress plans to revisit an immigration bill after approving the budget.
Meanwhile, some faculty and students hope the United States continues to welcome immigrants from around the world.
“The different worldviews and experiences our students, staff, and faculty contribute to our College community should be celebrated instead of threatened.”
Contact John Kearney at firstname.lastname@example.org