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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Students, professor weigh in after Trump’s first week

Graphic by Jacob Martindale
Donald Trump

From suspending the Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days to commencing the Dakota Access pipeline construction, President Donald Trump’s first week has been busy and met with mixed reactions around the country.
Within one week the president has brought more than a dozen changes to the United States in terms of national security, immigration policy and global trade. All of these actions have been implemented by executive orders and presidential memoranda, in some cases circumventing congress and traditional governmental decision making.
Although he doesn’t expect the wall along the United States-Mexico border to be built before the end of Trump’s presidency, David Isenhour, chairman of TAMU College Republicans and petroleum engineering junior,  predicts border security will reach a more technological, protective state. Isenhour also said suspending the visa program as well as blocking entry to citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days was a good move toward reforming immigration policies.
“Do I see a day where we do open our visa program back up to those nations? Yeah, I hope it’s in the near future. There are a lot of good people who are trying to escape violence and to experience the American dream just like our forefathers did,” Isenhour said.
Many students on campus are affected by the most recent executive order, as well as their family and friends. According to the university enrollment profile for fall 2016, more than 200 students are from the countries affected by the ban.
Lucas Fernandez, chemical engineering junior and president of Texas Aggie Democrats, said the ban is unacceptable. Fernandez said people who left their country of origin for serious reasons or students visiting home were blindsided.
“I think the immigration ban is absolutely ridiculous. You have people that are professionals, professors, students and workers who are stuck in other countries right now. They have jobs,” Fernandez said. “They left on a green card thinking, ‘I’m a resident so I should be fine,’ and now they’re stuck over there.”
Isenhour said many of Trump’s actions are in line with republican political desires. Isenhour also said executive orders are the fastest way to undo the previous administration’s actions, and may have been the only way to undo policies.
“In the short term, I do not believe it is  entirely troublesome. It’s not ideal — however, with the last eight years of an Obama presidency where we saw executive orders increase exponentially,” Isenhour said. “I believe that it is the most efficient way to get us back to a governmental norm.”
Recently, the wall along the United States-Mexico border that Trump promised during his campaign has begun the planning phase, with plans for Mexico to help fund it. Border security has been tightened with local and state law enforcement being given the responsibility of immigration officers and Trump has planned to hire 10,000 new border agents.
Zach Russell, president of Aggies for Trump and international studies sophomore, said he is impressed by the speed at which Trump is attempting to change the country.
“I like the fact that he’s taking initiative so quickly,” Russell said. “He’s used those order to pull out of certain things we don’t need to be into, like [the Trans-Pacific Partnership]. It shows his eagerness to help better the country instead of dragging his feet along, like other people. He’s getting so much done, so quickly, it makes everyone else that’s come before him look bad.”
Kirby Goidel, a fellow at the Public Policy Research Institute and communication professor, said the days following Trump’s inauguration were fascinating to observe.
“I think now we know we should have taken him really literally,” Goidel said. “Across the board he’s been doing everything he can do. It’s interesting that he’s doing this via executive orders which is something republicans were concerned about with Barack Obama but that’s not at all unusual.”
Goidel said Trump is in a peculiar place concerning all of his actions. Goidel said many voters only supported him for specific issues, hoping he wouldn’t embrace others such as the immigration ban or health care.
“People support presidents for different reasons, so if you sort of do everything you lose some of your support,” Goidel said.
“Someone may have supported him because they were really concerned with immigration but they’re worried about what he’s doing with health care. Protests against the immigration are happening around the country in airports as people can neither leave the country or come back.”

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