International student faces hurdle at the border

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at 11:12 AM

Since the start of U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, he has openly and aggressively talk about his standpoint on immigration.

The Trump agenda surrounding immigration has set a tone for our nation: we are openly allowed to discriminate against people on the basis that we don’t like them, and as U.S. citizens we are protected under the First Amendment to say things like this. Or as Trump put it in a 2016 speech on the topic, the U.S. has the right to “choose immigrants that we think are likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us.”  

However, no one talks about what happens when immigrants who are the “likeliest to thrive and flourish” are being questioned on unjust grounds.  

On Friday, Aug. 23, Ismail Ajjawi, 17, was getting ready to attend his first year at Harvard. U.S. immigration officers had Ajjawi’s visa temporarily canceled, though, and sent him back to Lebanon after they found anti-American rhetoric that friends of Ajjawi had posted online.  

Not only did Ajjawi not post the content himself, but he also didn’t like, comment on or share it. There is no U.S. law or international law that says we have to agree with other country’s policies, governments or ethics.  

I not only frequently and openly express my opinions on the policies, governments and ethics of countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Israel and China, but my opinions shouldn’t stop me from entering said countries. Especially if I was already accepted into a globally recognized college and was approved by said government to enter and stay under those circumstances.  

I get it. We have to do what is necessary to protect the motherland and her citizens, but we also must do what is necessary to better mother Earth and her citizens. Ajjawi is one of those citizens. Our immigration officers attempted to away the right to a higher education.

Another issue I have with immigration temporarily revoking Ajjawi’s visa is that it wasn’t even his post. It is a well-known fact that we cannot control the opinions, actions and feelings of someone else. If we could, well, we would be in trouble. To no one’s surprise, Ajjawi is like everyone else — he doesn’t have the ability to control people and their social media.  

While the law isn’t black and white, immigration had no right to initially send this boy home for something he didn’t do or participate in. We as citizens have to draw a line on what we allow our government and its agencies to do, as well as what we will stand for. 

My right to higher education shouldn’t be infringed because I don’t agree with a government’s policies. My right to higher education shouldn’t be infringed because someone I know doesn’t agree with a government’s policies.  

Trump’s immigration agenda is aggressive and unacceptable. We must ask ourselves if it was the article that Ajjawi’s friend posted, or if it was the country Ajjawi is from that created the issue? 

Eventually, America made good on Ajjawi’s desire to get into Harvard. On Sept. 3, the BBC reported that he had been admitted into the country and was starting school. But it shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place.  

Trump said he wanted “the likeliest to thrive and flourish.” If we aren’t going to afford that opportunity to people who want to better the world and themselves, then we need to re-valuate the morals we live by and our policies. 

Tags: opinion

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