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Letter from the Editor: Chicagoans must stand up for immigrants

Chicago protesters (from left) Urzula Urzua, Ges Wernher, and Mahra Seward, welcome (right) Sara Ferrara, a UK native, moments after Judge Robart blocked Trumps travel ban.  (Photo/Antonio Garcia)

Chicago protesters (from left) Urzula Urzua, Ges Wernher, and Mahra Seward, welcome (right) Sara Ferrara, a UK native, moments after Judge Robart blocked Trumps travel ban. (Photo/Antonio Garcia)

From the Editor-in-Chief
Antonio Garcia

President Donald Trump’s travel ban has changed the world’s perspective of our country. Instead of being the land of the free and a symbol of the free world, our reputation is being tarnished by this backward step from social progress. We should be welcoming people in search of the American Dream, not scaring them away or banning them.

The recent protests at O’Hare International Airport have been a breath of fresh air to those of us who are looking forward, not backward. Hundreds of protesters flocked to O’Hare after the president’s executive order instituted an outright ban of passengers travelling from seven Muslim-majority countries and left many immigrants unable to re-enter the country.

Enter Mahra Seward, Ges Wernher and Urzula Urzua, Chicago residents who, since the executive order was signed Jan. 30, stood in solidarity with immigrants from all over the country by protesting the immigration ban. 

 “You should have seen it on [Jan. 30], it was crazy!” said Urzua. “But we’re still here.”

International Terminal 5, where most of the protesting took place, is where Seward, Wernher, and Urzua set up camp. 

The night U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart of Seattle issued a nationwide restraining order on Feb. 3, blocking the travel ban put in place by Trump, Seward, along with her two friends, stood at Terminal 5, greeting arriving passengers to Chicago while holding a sign reading “We are not afraid.”  

Most passengers went about their business, but many decided to stop in front of the three Chicagoans to express gratitude for the support they were receiving. 

 “I’m so sorry for our country,” said Seward, “We are all not like him.”

Sara Ferrara, a UK native who was traveling from Italy, thanked Seward for her support andsaid that patriotism and security are important, but not at the expense of human rights. 

“I’m a military mom,” said Ges Wernher, “but being patriotic does not mean that I am anti-Muslim or approve what is going on.” 

While the three Chicagoans wrapped up their activities at around 7 p.m., a team of lawyers camped out at the mezzanine area of Terminal 5 were also finishing up the pro-bono services they had provided for the day to international passengers affected by the executive order. 

Some of the signs that the lawyers were packing away read “Please stop and talk to us about your inspection process,” while another read “Was anyone on your flight held or subjected to a secondary inspection?”

Chicago is a city built on the contributions of immigrants, and it is our duty as Chicago residents to preserve it free of hate of any sort.

To see protesters, lawyers, and judges fighting back against this ridiculous president and his administration is inspiring and gives hope that these next four years might be only slightly unbearable.

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