AU students protest against Trump's executive orders
Community members joined thousands over the weekend to speak out against immigration ban
AU students, alumni and staff joined more than 1,000 protesters who gathered in front of the White House on Sunday afternoon in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order now commonly called the “immigration ban.”
The executive order signed by President Trump on Jan. 27 bars refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. The order set off domestic and global uproar with protests sprouting in airports and cities across the United States.
There were a number of protests in the D.C. region this weekend, including at Washington Dulles International Airport, the White House and in front of the Supreme Court.
In front of the White House, protesters chanted “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here” and “No ban, no wall” and “Shame,” among others.
Some AU alumni who were involved in the protest, such as 2016 alum Jacob Bell, expressed frustration at the executive order and said Trump’s decision was an unconstitutional action.
“We are all very excited to stand in solidarity with all Americans who think that bans on any form of immigration, especially those related to religious or ethnic concerns are unconstitutional, counterproductive, just not who we are as Americans,” Bell said.
Trump’s immigration ban executive order has not yet been challenged by congress, said Chris Edelson, an assistant professor in the Department of Government and a fellow with the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.
“Presidents can do whatever they want, and I mean whatever they want as long as no one stops them. Right now, no one in Congress is stopping him.” Edelson said. “They have all of the tools available to them to stop this if they want, the fact they are not acting means they are endorsing it. It is a test to constitutional democracy. Right now we are failing.”
The Trump administration crafted the order to prevent the inflow of immigrants whom the Administration perceives as dangerous. Several AU students who had come to the protest together felt the order was unfair and unconstitutional.
“It is not just one group of people, it is all groups of people,” said Mariar Uriarte, a senior in the School of International Service. “If you attack one, you attack all of us.”
Trump’s use of executive powers without legal review or approval from congressional lawmakers undermines the democratic system in place, Edelson said.
“This is not a partisan issue. What I think is happening is an authoritarian threat to constitutional democracy,” he said. “We have a president who thinks he can do what he wants without regards to the law.”