Forum: Refugee ban hits UT community


Photo Credit: Audrey McNay | Daily Texan Staff

Here at the Daily Texan Forum, we seek to provide a platform for a variety of perspectives on the week’s topic of focus. Today is different. There are not multiple opinions worth printing on President Donald Trump’s executive order that keeps refugees and tourists from seven Muslim-majority nations out of the U.S., and which initially extended to U.S. permanent residents from those same nations.

The order won praise from both the Islamic State and the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer blog, and it was roundly condemned by both immigration and national security experts. It subjected hundreds of innocents, whether fleeing persecution abroad or simply returning home, to harrowing detentions and the threat of deportation. And it didn’t block entrants from any of the countries whose residents had previously committed Islamist-inspired attacks in the U.S., limiting its appeal even to those inclined to support tight entry restrictions.

So this week’s Forum showcases a few different takes on what the ban means and what you can do about it. Evan Rathjen and Irene Gomez of the Liberal Arts Refugee Alliance describe their work with Austin’s refugee community, particularly through partnerships with local organizations such as Refugee Services of Texas and Casa Marianella. Levi Joseph, whose Jewish grandparents fled Europe during and after World War II, explores the historical roots of anti-refugee sentiments in the United States. Finally, Mrinalini Shah, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas' student chapter, writes on how to mobilize against misguided immigration policies on the state and local level.

One of the biggest stories of both Trump’s election and the blowback it inspired is that no voice is too small to make a difference. As always, we encourage you to make yours heard by reaching out to us at

Shenhar is a Plan II, economics, and government senior from Westport, Connecticut. Vernon is a rhetoric and writing sophomore from The Woodlands.

Read Evan Rathjen and Irene Gomez' piece on the necessity of working with refugees here.

Read Levi Joseph's piece on why the United States owes refugees its help here.

Read Mrinalini Shah's piece on how to get involved in protecting Americans' and others' constitutional rights here.