Trump executive orders require all to be vigilant guardians of democracy

NATIONAL ISSUES: Widespread activism is required to defend the country's legacy as a home for displaced peoples.

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Willow Yang/Senior Staff

Against an authoritarian administration that blurs the lines of constitutionality and throws checks and balances out the window, we must protect the country’s legacy as a home for displaced peoples.

Trump’s inhumane Muslim ban — he refuses to call it by that name, but that is what the executive order boils down to — has threatened refugees, professionals who have worked in this country for years and, at UC Berkeley, our very own peers. Not even two weeks into his presidency, Trump has already placed legal residents of this country in uncertain positions. Already, students have to rethink their academic future. Already, people who make valuable contributions to our country are put at a disadvantage.

We all likely know someone affected by this ban.

As a world-renowned university with many international students, the UC system could directly fight against Trump’s proposals. But considering Trump’s plans to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities, which voted against him, Trump has shown that he is not above excessive retaliation against his opponents.

Trump, though unhinged, has shown a propensity to deliver on his amoral promises. There is a conceivable risk that speaking out against his policies could make the University of California a target for a federal funding cut. There are ways besides a blatant disavowal of Trump, however, that the university can still provide services to students imperiled by his executive order.

Beyond recommending these students to defer international travel, the university needs to provide them with a long-term housing plan. Assuming it lasts into the summer, when students have to move out of their residence halls — or perhaps longer — students will need a place to stay if they cannot return home.

The university can only do so much to protect its students. Former president Barack Obama’s call to be “anxious, jealous guardians of democracy” means stepping out of a bubble of complacency and urging state representatives to support bills such as the one Sen. Dianne Feinstein is drafting. If passed, the bill Feinstein introduced Monday would effectively rescind Trump’s executive order.

The Muslim ban has already been contested heavily through massive airport protests. The state is suing Trump, and the American Civil Liberties Union has fought successfully against detainment. To effect change, you can donate to such organizations, including Detention Watch Network, United We Dream and National Network of Arab American Communities, among others, which provide services to refugees and people seeking permanent residence in the United States.

In the meantime, we are students, and we must properly take care of ourselves and the people around us. The campus Muslim Student Association has organized an afternoon prayer — a chance to gather in support of one another.

The widespread activism has proved that Trump’s executive orders will not slip past the electorate without a fight. It goes beyond resistance — it’s part of the duty of civic engagement.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.

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