On Feb. 2, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Office of Multicultural Development to voice their dissent regarding President Trump’s executive order which suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
Michael McKoy, assistant professor of politics and international relations, organized the event along with the help of Daniel Watts, B.R.I.D.G.E. coordinator, and Matt Vega, assistant director of the Office of Christian Outreach. McKoy encouraged students to call their representatives’ office to express their opposition to the action and ask that their representative publicly oppose the order. Specifically, the three wanted to organize a collective action voicing dissent to Congressman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who had been silent on his position since the executive order was announced.
But that same day, Congressman Roskam issued a public statement in support of the ban, saying “President Trump’s executive order is not perfect, but it is a necessary first step in protecting the homeland.” On Feb. 4, local protesters gathered in Palatine, Illinois, where Roskam met with the Palatine Township Republican Organization to voice his support of the president’s plans on issues such as the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and the reduction of business regulations and taxes.
Students have still decided to respectfully oppose the suspension of the refugee program.
“You hear a lot about checks and balances today … well, this is the check and the balance, citizens of a democratic country voicing their dissent,” said McKoy. According to his estimates, almost 40 students participated in the phone bank, reaching out to offices across the country in a call for action.
Sophomore Henry Prinz attended the phone bank to call his representative to express what he believes is a “moral obligation to responsibly and safely accept refugees in the United States.” Prinz told The Record, “I think Christians should be uniquely eager to serve and protect refugees, as we ourselves were once refugees, and God generously welcomed us into his family through Jesus when we had nothing to offer.”
The executive order prohibits all individuals hailing from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the country for the next 90 days and all admission of refugees for the next four months. The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program will be suspended and evaluated over the next 120 days by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence. At the end of the period, only refugees from countries approved by these individuals will be allowed to enter the United States through the program.
McKoy hopes to organize additional events during the extent of the ban to further voice “clear” yet “respectful” opposition.