They will not be silenced.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton listens to speakers during the "No Ban, No Wall" protest Sunday afternoon. | Photo by Rebecca Mehling

President Trump signed an executive order Friday prohibiting all citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the US for 90 days. Following the order, protests erupted across the nation in opposition to President Trump's foreign policy and in solidarity with the international community.

The IDS sent reporters to the Monroe County courthouse and Indianapolis International Airport to cover protests and monitored the reactions of policy-makers and educators on social media. This is what they saw.

Developed by Bryan Brussee and Eman Mozaffar

Protesters wave signs and chant, "No ban, no wall," Sunday afternoon on the Monroe County Courthouse lawn in response to the executive order President Trump signed Friday. The order banned refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States for 90 days. | Photo by Rebecca Mehling

Bloomington, IU communities rally in support of local immigrants and international students

Story by Cody Thompson and Eman Mozaffar

In the emotional aftermath of President Trump's divisive executive order to ban travelers from seven Muslim-Majority countries on Friday, hundreds gathered on the lawn of the Monroe County Courthouse Sunday to support local immigrants and international students.

The order, which banned immigrants from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for at least 90 days, has prompted protests across the country in airports and community centers.

The air was frigid and snowflakes fell on the sidewalks and homemade protest signs. The rally, which was organized by Btown Justice, saw protesters huddling close together on the lawn to listen to speeches and chants before marching to City Hall.

“I always feel so guilty,” said Luma Khabbaz, public relations chair of the Muslim Student Association at IU. “I did nothing to deserve this. Most of us are here because of pure luck.”

Khabbaz said she is a Syrian Muslim-American and most of her family still lives in Syria.

In her speech, which occasionally broke to allow for cheers from the crowd, Khabbaz said the MSA will be focusing on inclusion, tolerance and change in the future. Then she called out President Trump directly.

“A letter to my president,” she said. “First, you will never be my president.”

The crowd roared as she paused for another moment. Then she called Trump a coward and continued.

“You don’t know what it’s like to know how to dodge bullets but not how to ride a bike,” she said.

IU sophomore Luma Khabbaz, who has family in Syria, speaks Sunday about how she has been affected by the executive order President Trump signed Friday. The order banned refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States for 90 days. | Video by Rebecca Mehling

After Khabbaz was Gionni Ponce, speaking on behalf of the Latino Graduate Student Association. Ponce said Trump was targeting those he thinks are weak.

“But as a group, we’re not weak,” she said. “With help, we are not weak.”

There were also speakers from the Black Graduate Student Association, the UndocuHoosier Alliance and the Maurer School of Law.

One speaker, Suzanne Kawamleh, is an IU student who is pursuing her Ph.D. in philosophy and is a Syrian-American. For most of her speech, which recounted her friends' and family's experiences as refugees, the audience was silent.

“You know those pictures you share on Facebook of children washing up on European shores?” She said. "My family got in those boats.”

She told the members of the gathered crowd, who held various signs either accusing Trump of fascism or saying welcome to refugees, of the “hell” of the refugee camps she lived in with her family.

She told them of the immense difficulty and struggle she went through to be accepted into the U.S. She said once someone is accepted, after all that, they feel like they made it.

“You get so excited and land at the airport, and they hold you," she said. "That’s what happened yesterday.”

She was referencing the travelers from the banned countries who were detained at airports after the order was signed by Trump on Friday.

“A nun’s habit you wouldn’t have had a problem with,” she said. “But a normal headscarf? That won’t fly.”

She said this seems like a dictatorship. Then she pulled her phone from her pocket and requested the protesters to call Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana. At the time of publication Young has remained silent on the issue. She gave them a message to give to the Republican senator:

“Senator Young, we don’t want a Muslim ban. They’re our people, too.”

Hundreds gather Sunday to protest Trump's recent travel ban. | Video by Rebecca Mehling

Later in the night, many hours after the rally ended, several community members gathered in City Hall to discuss further action.

The protesters’ sentiments were echoed on a banner signed by protestors in support of international students. The banner was covered in marker and snow.

“Glad you are here!”

“Everyone is an American!”

“Your fight is my fight”

The center of the banner read in large letters “We support you!”

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, speaks about standing united under a Trump presidency at a peaceful protest Sunday in the Indianapolis International Airport. Hoosiers gathered to demonstrate against the Trump travel ban and the construction of a wall on the United States-Mexico border. | Photo by Victor Grössling

Hundreds come to Indianapolis airport to protest travel ban

Story by Emily Ernsberger

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of protesters from around Indiana, as well as two federal government officials from Indiana, gathered Sunday evening at the Indianapolis International Airport in response to President Trump’s most recent executive order.

The protest followed the example of other demonstrations at airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Rep. Andre Carson, D-District 7, and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, spoke at the peaceful rally.

“As Hoosiers, we are saying enough is enough,” Carson said. “If you think we are going to sit back as concerned citizens and let you dictate and codify bigotry, we will say no and we will stand up to you and make sure you no longer stay in office.”

Trump’s order, signed Friday, suspended both immigrants and non-immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations — Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — from entering the United States for 90 days. No refugees are allowed to come to the U.S. for 120 days under the order. Those who oppose the travel ban say it is a discriminatory order against Muslims.

Indianapolis International Airport representatives said no one traveling from the seven countries on the ban list was detained at the airport during the weekend. Exodus Refugee Network announced Saturday there were no expected Syrian families coming to the state this weekend.

It is unknown how many travelers from the other six Muslim-majority countries were unable to come to Indianapolis. The Indianapolis International Airport has few direct international flights.

The protest took place in the baggage claim area of the airport and wrapped around the luggage carousels. Carson, a Muslim, joined in with the crowd chanting pro-refugee cheers such as “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here” at the beginning of the protest. He addressed the crowd later and said the travel ban is a divisive policy.

Sisters and Muslim-Americans Sara AlHaffar, Dana AlHaffar and Nora Basha protest at the Indianapolis International Airport. Daughters of Syrian immigrants and cousins of refugees, the three stood together to stand against President Trump's executive orders that they believe to be wrong and to stand against injustice. | Photo by Victor Grössling

Donnelly, a seemingly surprise speaker, thanked the crowd for standing up for American values.

“This executive order is not what America is about,” he said.

Donnelly later told reporters he believed the ban is targeted against Muslim populations and discriminatory toward those already living in the U.S.

“Green card holders who live here who go to IU or Purdue or Notre Dame or Ball State who maybe want to come back can’t get back in,” Donnelly said.

He also said the Congressional Armed Services committee, on which Donnelly sits, has spoken out against the ban, and he is concerned Trump’s plan to keep out terrorists will instead put the U.S. at risk for attacks.

“This gives Al-Qaida and ISIS a recruiting tool that they can use against us,” he said.

No counter protesters or anyone in favor of the ban came to the event.

Galen Denney, one of the event organizers, said he felt compelled to put on the event because he felt only thinking and posting about the ban on social media was not enough.

“I have friends that are Syrian refugees and friends that are Muslim,” Denney said. “This issue was one I couldn’t let go. It is just antithetical to what I think it is to be an American.”

Executive order draws criticism from many politicians

Story by Lyndsay Jones

President Trump’s decision to sign an executive order limiting emigration from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States inspired politicians across the country to make criticisms of the new policy Saturday.

The nation-wide protests have been in response to President Trump’s executive order signed Friday that suspended both immigrants and non-immigrants from Muslim-majority nations — Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — from entering the U.S. for 90 days. No refugees are allowed to come to the United States for 120 days under the order.

Social media reactions to President Trump's travel ban. | Compilation by Bryan Brussee

Two Facebook event pages, Indianapolis International Protest Against Fear”and “ResistTheList - Solidarity Rally”, have about 500 people each indicating they will come to the event. Though both events were formed separately, they have since merged into one protest.

Galen Denney, one of the event organizers, said he felt compelled to put on the event after feeling that only thinking and posting about the ban on social media was not enough.

“I have friends that are Syrian refugees and friends that are Muslim,” Denney said. “This issue was one I couldn’t let go. It is just antithetical to what I think it is to be an American.”

Indianapolis International Airport representatives said no one traveling from the seven countries on the ban list was detained over the weekend. Exodus Refugee Network announced Saturday that there were no expected Syrian families coming to the state this weekend. It is unknown how many travelers from the other six Muslim-majority countries were unable to come to Indianapolis. The Indianapolis International Airport does few direct flights to and from international countries.

Protesters wave signs and chant, "No ban, no wall," Sunday afternoon on the Monroe County Courthouse lawn in response to the executive order President Trump signed Friday. The order banned refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States for 90 days. | Photo by Rebecca Mehling

Their Voices

Story by Christine Fernando, Emily Miles, Jack Evans and Leah Carter

IDS reporters talked to students from the international community about their fears following President Trump's executive order restricting international travel. These are their stories.

Yonsung Lee, South Korea

Yonsung Lee knows he needs to travel to South Korea to visit his grandmother who is dying of cancer.

Yonsung Lee’s grandmother wasn’t sick yet last time he saw her, but that was two years ago, long before the news came this winter that she’s dying of cancer and that she has a year left to live.

He knows he needs to travel to South Korea see her again, he said. It might be his last chance, but there’s something inside him whispering that these immigration orders might expand – that even though he’s not from one of the seven countries restricted by the order, it sets a precedent that could someday keep him from returning from the place he’s lived for nearly a decade.

“I can’t shake off the feeling I too could be denied at the gates by the signature of a single man,” Lee, 20, said.

The junior in viola performance was born in Seoul and lived there until 2009, when his family moved to Bloomington after his father secured a sponsorship to study law at IU. His parents have since moved to Cambodia, where his father works, and Lee lives in the United States on a student visa.

He’d like to stay in the U.S. after graduation. He’s considering grad school so he can extend his student visa, and marriage has run through his head as well. Among other things, the two years of military service required of men in his home country is a deterrent. As a musician, he said two years without practice would be career suicide. Now, he feels like the future of visas and green cards in the U.S. is up in the air.

The feeling Lee can’t shake about going home has come alongside some other strong emotions: the anger that boiled up when he saw the email sent to international students Saturday, the hope that almost brought him to tears when he heard of the spontaneous protests at airports Saturday night.

Korea knows about protests, he said. He joined them as a sixth-grader when the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement spurred national tensions, and he saw them on his Facebook feed just months ago when millions took to the streets in Seoul to demand the resignation of recently impeached president Park Geun-hye.

He hadn’t seen a protest that stirred him in the same way in the U.S. until the women’s marches and airport protests, he said. He thinks this generation of Americans has finally caught on to how to use protest to elicit political change.

“I know Koreans have done it,” he said. “I think Americans could do it too.”

If that’s to be done, though, it’ll require action by people not directly affected by things like the immigration ban, he said. That covers American nationals, but it also extends to people like himself, citizens of other countries with better relationships with the U.S.

“For those people to say, ‘I don’t need to care’ would be so daftly irresponsible,” he said. “If you’re saying, ‘I don’t care,’ we’ll see you when you’re blocked from entering this country.”

Novi Maharani, Indonesia

Novi Maharani from Indonesia fears if she leaves the country, she may not be able to return.

Novi Maharani said she wants to use her master’s degree in the Kelley School of Business to help Native Americans in California but fears for her own legal status and that of her peers, she said.

Maharani is concerned for her international peers because her Kelley program requires students to help global businesses in different countries, meaning that some students may be required to leave the country and come back. If she had to leave the country to complete her degree, she would be even more concerned.

“Some of us may need to travel outside of the U.S., but in my case I will help Native Americans, so I don’t have concerns about that,” Maharani said. “But I understand that some of my friends may have concerns about helping businesses overseas when they want to come back.”

Indonesia has a primarily Muslim population. Although Indonesia is not on the list of the seven banned countries, the email and bans are still cause for students like her to feel like their studies and stays in the United States may be threatened in the future, she said.

“As an international student, I feel insecure,” Maharani said. “Everything is so uncontained and there is no guarantee that in the future there may not be something that may impact my studies.”

So far Maharani has not had any negative experiences in Bloomington and said she feels safe in the city.

“People in Bloomington are super nice,” Maharani said. “I feel safer in Bloomington because I know that most of my friends also come from other countries.”

Lamia Djeldjel, Algeria

Lamia Djeldel goes home to see her family in Algeria every summer, but she wouldn't go this summer if she had to reapply for her visa.

Lamia Djeldjel goes back to Algeria every summer to see her family. The news of the executive order last week hasn’t changed her plans.

“What will happen will happen,” she aid.

If her visa and passport were not up to date, she said she would be hesitant to travel for fear of being rejected for a visa interview.

The first thing Djeldjel does when she wakes up in the morning is check her email. When she got up Saturday morning, she was not expecting to find the message in her inbox.

“I was shocked and surprised,” said Djeldjel. “I said, ‘Seriously? Is this an email one can receive on a Saturday morning?’”

After receiving the email, she immediately shared the email with her friends on Facebook. Djeldjel says that she is not concerned about herself and is not afraid, because Algeria is not on the list of banned countries and she does not need to apply for a visa renewal this year. However, she is concerned for her friends who are from the banned countries and for what the future might hold for students from other countries.

“Just because Algeria is not on the list doesn’t mean that I do accept this,” Djeldjel said. “It’s not about Algeria being on the list. I’s about the things that are wrong in many ways.”

Angelo Pereira, India

Angelo Pereira, a senior at IU from India, is worried about the possibility of not receiving a work permit after he graduates.

When Angelo Pereira wants to be reminded of his home in India, he cooks. One of his favorite dishes is fried fish, a common southern Indian dish that is cooked with chili powder, coriander and ginger paste.

“It’s a good taste, and it takes me back home for a little while.” Pereira said. “I just cook a little bit so that I can relate back to how it might be at home.”

Though India is not one of the seven countries from which travel to the United States has been banned, Pereira’s chances of visiting home in person rather than through food have still dwindled.

He usually goes back to see his family in India once every four months. Although he didn’t plan to make his usual trip there this summer anyway, he would be afraid to try because his visa is expiring soon, and he would have to apply for a new one in order to come back to the United States. The renewal of that visa may be more difficult now.

“What happens next?” Pereira said. “What if there is any kind of visa work or if they just turn around and tell me to go back?”

Pereira wants to stay in the U.S. to work and said he is worried that the order will impact the number of work visas that may be issued. Even if he is issued a work visa, he says he is not sure how long the term will be for and if it can be revoked at any point.

Pereira said he is concerned but believes that many of his peers have reason to be more worried than he is because of their Middle Eastern backgrounds.

“It’s just very uncertain.”

Fatemeh Sharifi, Iran

Fatemeh Sharifi has not seen her family since August 2015 and may have to wait a few more years until she can see them again because of the order.

Fatemeh Sharifi used to have nightmares about going back to Iran and not being able to return to the United States.

She even missed both her grandfather and grandmother’s funerals in Iran for fear of not being able to come back.

She doesn’t have the nightmares anymore but what she feared has come true.

Because Sharifi has a single-entry visa, she cannot leave the United States without reapplying for a visa, which prevents her from visiting Iran while she finishes her Ph.D. at IU. The executive order signed last week prevents her application from being accepted.

Her parents had planned to visit her this summer, but that’s no longer possible. She has not seen her family since August 2015 and has not traveled back to Iran for fear of being rejected for a new visa and putting her studies at risk, so her parent’s visit was her only chance to see them until she graduates from IU.

The visa application process was already complicated for Iranians. Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Iran, Iranian citizens who want to apply for American visas must fly to Armenia, Dubai or Turkey to apply for their visas. The process can sometimes take longer than six months.

Then people are given a time limit to get to the U.S., which means they must be prepared to leave immediately upon approval of their visas, sometimes with only a few days to sell their belongings and buy a plane ticket. The process can be expensive and stressful, Sharifi said.

“At least when they find them, they should have given some time to people so that people knew that they might have some trouble entering,” Sharifi said. “It’s totally unfair.”

Particularly upsetting to Sharifi was the lack of notice officials gave to people who were coming back to the U.S. Officials could have given returning green card holders more notice so they wouldn’t have been detained in the airports, she said.

“For some people it might take more than six months then they tell them we didn’t approve your visa,” Sharifi said. “Now, I mean, you have the visa, and you can’t even enter the country. It’s an insult.”

Anonymous, Iraq

A former IU student from Iraq claps Sunday at the "No Ban, No Wall" rally. He has been in the United States for just more than a year and fears he won't be able to visit his home for another 11 years.

Standing at the stove, he’s 24 and thinner than he was a few weeks ago. He cooks a pan of chicken shawarma, and Beethoven’s symphonies drift from the living room. He hasn’t slept well.

When he heard of the Muslim ban, he had already been avoiding the mosque and staying quiet to help his immigration case move as quickly as possible. Some of his friends told him everything would be okay.

“Just marry,” he heard far too many times. “It will all be solved.”

It was never meant to come to that.

After studying computer science and graduating from a Baghdad college, he took a job with his friend’s family company. The company sent him to the U.S. to study English for a few months, and in December 2015 he arrived in Bloomington.

He took his first IU classes in January 2016, and by the end of February, the company had been threatened and attacked. The scholarship money stopped, and his job was gone.

“You know what, just apply for immigration,” the man who originally recommended IU said. “Don't go back there. It's horrible.”

He called his family and a lawyer.

“We took like two weeks or three weeks to think about it,” he said. “Because you know it's a very hard decision to be away from a family.”

He applied for an immigration interview, which could take three years. Then, he applied for a work card, which he hopes will arrive in a few weeks. And now he waits, taking online computer science courses and playing soccer and worrying.

He’s running out of the money he earned through years of work in Iraq.

He estimates he won’t be able to visit Iraq for 11 years, waiting for an interview, approval, a green card, and a passport. By then, he said his parents will have died.

He doesn’t want to leave in the middle of the process and end up like his friend, who was denied re-entry to the U.S.

He doesn’t want to stay in Iraq, where he saw U.S. tanks roll through his hometown, where he saw his middle school best friend shot, where he heard an explosion and another best friend killed by the shrapnel of glass bowls in the market where he worked.

He wants to live in the U.S. and work until he can save up for graduate school. Maybe he’ll work in technology. He hopes to be an actor, but for now he waits.

Zaid Karabatak, Syria

IU sophomore Zaid Karabatak stands alongside two friends. Karabatak said the recent immigration limitations make him fearful for the future of his family and others in Syria.

As a child, Zaid Karabatak spent his summers with his family in Syria.

Each year, when he turned the corner into the airport waiting room after landing in Syria, a mob of family members waited while waving, cheering and crying. Every morning after that, a family member would wake him up in the morning because they couldn’t wait to to say “hello.”

Things changed when the Syrian Civil War broke out, keeping Karabatak from seeing his family for six years. While he waited in the U.S., his family members fled the violence as refugees in Canada and parts of Europe.

“Like most other refugees, they were just innocent people just stuck in the middle trying to find a chance,” he said.

Now, after the recent executive order, it isn’t just the war that is keeping Karabatak from seeing his family again.

“It makes it scarier to go see my family and even more scary for them to look for a new life outside of Syria,” he said.

He said this is especially true for his cousin who is studying to be a dentist. While he wants to come here to practice, his chances are now slim because he did not have the privilege of being born in the United States, Karabatak said.

“All they want is just an opportunity,” he said. “When we’re born in the United States, we’re given a lottery ticket and a freedom to do whatever you want. But they don’t have that luxury.”

Karabatak said it was seeing refugees turned away at the airport that really broke his heart, especially because he knew that those people could have been his own family.

“Imagine selling everything you have for a single plane ticket and then getting to the gate just for someone to tell you that the door’s locked,” he said. “You have nothing to go back to. Everything is gone.”

Among these families of refugees, he said the children stand out to him most because of the pain they’ve faced in their lives. He said he cannot understand how someone can look at an innocent child and send them away.

“If you drove by a house that was on fire, and someone asked you to go in and save their child knowing that you’ll be fine, you would without question,” he said. “And now Syria is burning out, and we need people to save these children.”

Karabatak said these actions go against every value the U.S. was founded on when it was called a melting pot and the land of the free.

“To me, to be an American is to work nonstop to achieve your dreams and help those who are struggling to achieve theirs,” he said.

This principle is why Karabatak has spent hours marching in the cold and yelling until his voice gave out just so people would listen.

However, he said this past election has caused us to close our ears to the voices of others. Now, it’s time to open them again.

“We’re lost,” he said. “We were all just really, really angry. And we didn’t know where to place that anger, so we placed it on each other. We created this environment for hatred when we just needed to come together and talk and listen and protect each other’s values and rights.”

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