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ASUCI Senate Proposes Legislation Condemning Muslim Ban

ASUCI Senate proposed a legislation last Thursday taking a definitive stance against President Trump’s recent immigration ban and border wall executive orders. The “No Ban, No Wall” legislation is pending and was postponed for further discussion on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 7, after Senators expressed uncertainty about the wording and tangible impact of the legislation.

The Jan. 27 resolution first addresses Trump’s immigration ban, widely referred to as a “Muslim ban” as it restricts immigration for 90 days from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, with different considerations for Christian citizens of those countries. UCI currently has 154 students and scholars from the seven affected countries, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

The order, which has since been halted by a number of federal courts and appealed by the Trump administration, is currently in limbo while protests against the ban continue nationwide, including several at UCI last week.

“Loved ones, workers, students and legal workers are denied entry into a country based on religion,” At-Large Senator Zeina Mousa wrote in the resolution. “Immigrants play a crucial role in the success of the United States.”

In addition to the “Muslim ban,” the ASUCI resolution addressed Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order calling for the construction of a wall on the Mexican-American border, one of Trump’s primary campaign promises aimed at stopping illegal immigration from Mexico. While Trump initially promised that the $12-15 billion wall would be paid for entirely by Mexico, the White House said after the release of the executive order that Trump is instead considering imposing a 20 percent border tax on Mexican imports in order to pay for the wall. The plan has raised concerns about the tax increase being passed along to American consumers.

The ASUCI resolution addresses the human impact of such a border wall, stating that the project “will criminalize and prevent Mexican immigrants from entering the United States.”

The legislation, when presented on Thursday, resolved to demonstrate ASUCI’s official “solidarity with the immigrants being denied and barred access to the United States,” and “demand that the University of California, Irvine recognize the attacks on Muslim and immigrant students on campus.” In addition, the resolution proposed that ASUCI “financially assist the organizing communities on campus” and that Senate’s Public Affairs Committee “hold a workshop educating others on the ramifications of such a ban.”

A copy of the legislation, if approved, would be sent to Chancellor Howard Gillman and Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham for review.

The legislation was briefly discussed on Thursday, at which time some Senators issued concerns about what tangible impact the resolution would have on campus.

“I wish the wording would be more specific and relevant,” said Social Ecology Senator Melissa Safady. “I don’t necessarily like the [border] wall, but it seems like such a big issue that I don’t know how much the [ASUCI] legislation could help.”

Senators agreed to rewrite the legislation, specifying what kind of financial assistance would be available to on-campus organizing committees, and what the educational workshop would entail.