The President of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Amy Gutmann, on Monday became the latest public figure representing an institution to speak out against the travel ban – the ban impacts travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria and Iraq – put in place last Friday via a hasty Executive Order signed by President Donald J. Trump, who despite the chaos – airport workers say the new rule was sprung on them thus little-to-no time was available to prepare to ensure efficiency, and green card holders who have a legal right to be in America were also gravely inconvenienced – caused by the order has not only praised it, but remains committed to it, even in the face of great opposition.
A day before the Mayor of Philadelphia, Mr. Jim Kenney, and the ACLU of Pennsylvania are to provide at City Hall an update on the families whose relatives were detained or sent back from PHL International Airport, Dr. Gutmann on Monday evening called on President Trump to “change course” and rectify the damage caused by the travel ban, which the acting Attorney General, Ms. Sally Yates – who’s expected to be replaced by Senator Jeff Session – said she won’t defend because she’s not convinced it’s legal.
On Saturday past a New York federal judge blocked part of the controversial ban, ruling that, according to CNN, authorities could not remove individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries who had arrived in US airports after the order was issued. Mayor Kenney said Sunday in a statement that all new passengers arriving will be treated the same as they would have been prior to the executive order.
Though some progress has been made – the policy moving forward won’t impact green card holders – Dr. Gutmann implied the damage was already done, and that the damage is undeniable. Like Mayor Kenney – who over the weekend stood in solidarity with protesters at the PHL International Airport and who comes from a family of Irish immigrants – the resistance expressed by Dr. Gutmann against persecution of immigrants is personal: she’s the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi Germany; and her grandfather was, and her son-in-law is, an immigrant.
Immigrants, said Dr. Gutmann, are a “precious natural resource” which provides invaluable contributions to our society. Mayor Kenney, whose ancestors were Irish immigrants, last year when speaking to delegates at the Democratic National Convention expressed a similar sentiment: America is strengthened by immigrants.
Dr. Gutmann said her dissent is the result of a “special obligation” to her institution, which is the nation’s first secular university.
“Because we are Penn, we must not and we will not remain silent.”
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