BY NATALIE LARIMER
On Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order that bans refugees and immigrants from seven specific countries from entering the United States. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. These countries were not explicitly named in the order, but the Department of Homeland Security issued a fact sheet, where they were listed.
Hodo Farah, a sophomore international relations major, is an immigrant from Somalia, an affected country.
“I was born in Mogdishu, Somalia,” Farah said. “I still have some relatives in Somalia, so if I wanted to bring my grandmother to the United States and start her in on the naturalization process, which takes a long time, it would be impossible.”
Farah has served in the United States Army, doing two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In going from soldier to immigrant, Farah sees a priority issue coming to light.
“It kind of hurts,” Farah said. “I mean, I have a military background and I have no choice but to support my Commander in Chief, but some of these things that are coming out of the White House, it kind of makes you feel a little betrayed.”
He served alongside people with green cards as well as people who were born and raised in America.
“Some of these people are foreigners, some of these people have never left their little frog pond in the south, north, west .. and then all of a sudden they’re around Muslims, Christians, Jews, blacks, Asians, and they somehow cohesively form a unit that you don’t see anywhere else in society,” Farah said. “I think the military is the primary example in society for all of us civilians to look up to.”
Seeing executive orders coming that directly target his birth country makes Farah worry that he is no longer welcome in the US as a citizen.
“I believe it’s racial/religious,” Farah said. “Am I saying that our Commander in Chief is a racist? Absolutely not. But the motivations behind it just (don’t)seem political. If it gets any worse, if my citizenship gets repealed, would I be shocked? No. Would I feel very betrayed? Yes.”
The order states, “to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
The population of ach country listed is majority Muslim and the phrasing of the order has led people to believe it is a “Muslim ban” rather than simply a refugee ban. This has sparked protests around the United States, including one on Feb. 2 in Des Moines.
Following the executive order, Drake University President Earl Martin sent an email to all students saying, Drake is “a place of refuge or safety” — our chosen definition of ‘sanctuary’ — for all of our students, faculty, and staff.”
In receiving that email, Farah felt pride in his school and safety in his community.
“I made the right choice in coming here to Drake,” Farah said. “It’s uplifting and reminds me that there are still organizations, individuals, professors, students, who actually take this to heart. I get a sense of brotherhood just from being in class because of that letter.”
“Speak out for what you believe in,” Farah continued. “Don’t do anything other than just speaking your mind. That’s all I want individuals to do at this point.”