The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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“Refugees are welcome here;” Hundreds march in protest of Trump’s new Immigration Ban

Photo by Brian Okosun

The Bryan College Station community showed up by the hundreds to chant, peacefully assemble, and march across the Texas A&M campus Monday evening hoping to have their voices heard

Holding signs that read things like, “Ban ignorance not immigrants” and shouting chants like, “Love, not hate makes America great,” hundreds of students, faculty, children and community members gathered on campus Monday night to protest President Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban.
The Immigration Ban, Trump’s latest executive action, bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely and blocks citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the United States for 90 days. Of the thousands of people in the United States affected by the ban, roughly 200 of them are A&M students.
With news spread by the Facebook page “Protest for the Muslim Student Body and College Station Members,” the crowd flooded Rudder Plaza with the goal of promoting unity within the student body and marched to Evans Library. The Facebook page was created by cinematography freshman Mallory Chapman.
Chapman originally made the Facebook page expecting a small group of people to join her in the protest. Within just an hour of the page being posted, more than 100 people confirmed their attendance. After four more hours, the number had already risen to 250.
Chapman said she hopes the protest will make members of the Muslim community feel welcomed despite the executive action.
“I would want it to be to where people can walk down the street and we can smile at people no matter what they’re wearing, no matter how they talk, no matter whether or not they have an accent or not,” Chapman said. “I want us to open our doors to people who are in need and I think that that’s kind of what we’re supposed to do for people is just open our hands and feet for them and be there for people when they need.
The goal was for people of all ethnicities to feel welcome, not only on campus but in the entire country, said Ali Eldouh, biomedical engineering junior and vice president of TAMU Muslim Student Association.
“The whole culture of Texas A&M, the whole reputation it has it that it is a white, Christian, conservative school and hopefully [events] like this will help minorities feel more accepted and welcome here at Texas A&M,” Eldouh said.
Saira Ahmed, political science senior and public relations officer of TAMU MSA, said the event was open to anyone interested in the protest.
“The event is for all Aggies, all community members in the Bryan-College Station area, not just for Muslims,” Ahmed said. “It’s open for Muslims and non-Muslims. Basically, it’s our response to the acts of hatred that have been showcased by the president and his executive orders, so we want to show that we’re part of this country. We’re citizens of this nation and we’re defending the incredible value of the right to freely practice our religion.”
Encouraged by his wife to attend, architecture professor Ward Wells stood in the protest because of what has happened within the first 10 days since Trump’s inauguration into office.
“The fact that there’s too many things that are happening within the last 10 days that are fundamentally un-American and that people are strong-arming people into various positions,” Wells said. “Some of which I think are unconstitutional, some of which are just bad for the country, some of which I think actually represent a small, very conservative minority, including the ‘alt-right,’ which is obviously occupying part of the White House.”
While he acknowledges the rights of the protesters, chemical engineering junior Connor Shannon disagrees with the some of the statements they were chanting.
“I just don’t like how they’re going out about this protest as of right now,” Shannon said. “The quoting of fascism is just not true. There’s really no fascism going on. Where is the fascism?”

Communication junior Bailey Wolfenson said the march was meant to convey the message that differences should not be divisive.
“Because Trump is not my president. This is not our America. This is democracy,” Wolfenson said. “It hurt my soul. Because we’re all the same, we’re one race, this is humankind, we’re not divided. We all hurt, we all feel, we all bleed. Because of your religion, that doesn’t make a difference.”

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