Hundreds of people attended a vigil this week in support of refugees and immigrants. (Photo: Contributed)

Area residents continued to react this week to a presidential executive order that indefinitely stops Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.

The order also indefinitely prohibits all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. It bans citizens from seven countries from coming in for 90 days. Those countries, which are majority Muslim, are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Even Republicans, who have been generally supportive of the new president, have said it was poorly executed. 

Harsher critics call the order unconstitutional. 

On Friday, CBS released a poll that found that more than half-51 percent-of Americans disapprove of the order, according to The Hill

At least 100,000 visas have been revoked in the week since Trump signed the order, a lawyer for the Department of Justice said in court Friday, according to NBC News.

UTC responds
On Monday, UTC Chancellor Steven Angle sent a letter to the school’s community acknowledging that many people have expressed worries about the executive order. 

He said that leaders are working to “understand the implications of the order and its changing application.”

Out of the seven countries listed in the order, UTC has two students from Iran, 12 from Sudan and two from Syria this semester, UTC Center for Global Education Executive Director Takeo Suzuki said via email. 

Suzuki said that his office routinely works with students who are planning international travel.

“We are encouraging those who are citizens of or were born in one of these seven countries listed in the executive order to not travel abroad without consultation with our office first,” he said. “We understand and value their contributions as international students at UTC. We will continue to monitor developments closely and provide them an update as soon as possible, should any immigration policy changes affect them.”

Angle said that it is the school’s top priority to maintain safety and well-being of the campus community and that the school is committed to a diverse campus, which means “recruiting, retaining and supporting faculty, staff and students from different cultures around the world.”

He also said that leaders are offering support to anyone who needs it, especially those from the seven countries named in the order. 

“Among our core values, we embrace diversity and inclusion, and we strive to live [with] integrity and civility,” he said. “These remain essential to our campus culture, and I hope that each of us will take this opportunity to reflect them in our daily interactions. We support the members of our community.”

Vigil draws hundreds 
Hundreds of area residents attended a Wednesday vigil in support of refugees and immigrants who can’t enter the United States after President Donald Trump signed the executive order. 

The vigil was an effort to let refugees and immigrants know they are not alone.

Pakistani native and Chattanooga businesswoman Amna Shah came to the United States when she was 16. 

She helped organize this week’s vigil and said that Trump’s order was not executed well. 

“These are people on airplanes that are being turned away-that’s really, really unethical,” she said. 

She said it was heartwarming to see people come together Wednesday and that it’s important to get to know people to overcome fear of the unknown.

“People always have a heart, and I feel there’s a way to that heart,” she said. 

But the president’s order has also made her and her husband uneasy. Her husband has wondered if they should move to Canada, Shah said. 

And although she said she does feel more fear and uncertainty now that Trump is president, she doesn’t want to move.

“I said, ‘Nope, this is our home,'” she said. “My kids-this is what their identity is. They were born here.”

Advertisement