“It is an understatement to say that we are disappointed, dismayed, and appalled by this decision,” said the statement.
The travel ban, often referred to as the Muslim Ban because it restricts immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Libya) was put into effect through executive order by President Trump in January 2017.
Although lower courts initially ruled that it was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court upheld the ban in a 5-4 decision on June 26. Chief Justice Roberts explained the court’s controversial ruling by citing a provision of immigration law which gives the president the power to“suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens.”
Justice Roberts also explained that although President Trump has expressed hostility towards Muslims and Muslim Americans on multiple occasions, the travel ban could not be proven to directly target Muslims, and the power to restrict immigration for perceived national security purposes is within presidential authority.
Despite these explanations, the Boston College Muslim Student Association as well as many lawmakers and citizens across the nation expressed their discontent with the decision.
“The court chose to ignore the animus of the current amoral administration and sided with hate, fear, and prejudice,” said the BCMSA statement, which was supported in solidarity by 28 student organizations including the AHANA+ Leadership Council, College Democrats of Boston College, and The Gavel.
The MSA statement called the Supreme Court’s ruling an “incorrect decision,” describing it as a “clear example of state-sponsored Islamophobia” and comparing it to past Supreme Court rulings which upheld segregation and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The statement also described the direct impact that this ruling has on the BC community: “It has prevented members of our community from visiting their grandparents, obstructed them from attending family reunions, weddings, and even made obtaining medical treatment an impossible hurdle.”
“Islam teaches us love and compassion, but it also instructs us to stand up for the oppressed, regardless of their faith,” said the BCMSA statement. “As representatives of the Boston College Muslim Student Association, we will continue to advocate for our communities—as well as all marginalized communities—in the face of bigotry and hate, no matter the origin.”
“We value Boston College Jesuit values that instruct us to be men and women for others, and have respect for people of all religions and backgrounds. We must stand together as students, faculty, staff, and administration...”
BC student and MSA member Aneeb Sheikh, MCAS '20, expressed his personal views on the ban: “This decision is another example of the current administration attempting to revise history and paint Islam and Muslims as foreign entities in this country. They want Muslims to feel as though they don't truly belong.”
Sheikh went on to describe the long history of Muslims in the United States (dating back to before the country’s founding), and he reaffirmed Muslim citizens’ and immigrants’ identities as American. “The new waves of Muslims coming from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa are an extension of the indigenous African-American community, who are unquestionably American and Muslim. Islam is not a foreign religion, and Muslims have always been a part of the fabric of this nation.”