Kamand ‘Kamryn’ Taghizadeh, a freshman undeclared major, waited three and a half hours for her grandfather to be released from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Saturday after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration.
Taghizadeh is Iranian-American, and her parents are both immigrants from Iran. Her 78-year-old grandfather Reza Taghizadeh lives in Isfahan, Iran and was coming to LAX with a green card to visit her and her family, who live in San Diego. According to Taghizadeh, they detained him for almost nine and a half hours. During that time, he only ate a “ramen noodle,” and although there was a vending machine he could not use it because he did not have the proper currency and no means of contacting Taghizadeh or anyone else.
Trump signed an executive order called “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” on Jan. 27 that barred Syrian refugees from coming into the United States, postponed refugee admissions for 120 days and blocked some citizens from entering the U.S. for 90 days, specifically from these Muslim-majority countries: Libya, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. According to CNN, the Trump Organization has done business with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates — all of which are Muslim-majority countries — and are not on the list of banned countries.
“Once he landed, he was bombarded by officials. [...] He was so confused because Trump signed the official papers while he was in the air, on the plane. So they kept interrogating him for like nine hours. He doesn’t speak any English so he wasn’t able to answer [or understand]. He was exhausted,” Taghizadeh said. He had traveled for 22 hours to get from his home in Iran to Los Angeles.
President Timothy Law Snyder sent students an email expressing his support to LMU’s international students, scholars and families and said, “I join educators and citizens nationwide and oppose an order that limits our ability to fulfill LMU’s educational mission in a global context and endangers the freedom of movement for the students, faculty, and scholars [...]. We will continue to coordinate and support our community members as we monitor this evolving situation. We recommend persons from the named countries suspend planned travel outside of the United States until further notice.”
In response to the executive order, thousands of people protested at LAX on Sunday, and have continued to protest to date. Many students from LMU have attended these protests, where some students have been going every day to participate in the protests or to bring food and water for the immigration lawyers who are attempting to help anyone in need.
“Students should be joining the protests at LAX because we have to demonstrate that we will not stand for this Muslim ban. Trump may not care, but Congress and the bureaucracy might,” junior women’s and gender studies major and protest participant, Cass Vitacco, said. “If you can’t protest, I would suggest donating to the American Civil Liberties Union, calling on your representatives to denounce the ban and block Trump’s nominees or joining other students to bring food and water to the protesters and lawyers at Tom Bradley International Terminal.”
Chris Lorenzo, a junior physics major who has been an active member of the protests, said, “President Trump’s actions demonstrate the worst inhumanity through racism and religious prejudice. However, this prejudice has brought forth the best in humanity, made manifest through the protesters coming together from all walks of life and the attorneys working tirelessly from dusk to dawn.”
Taghizadeh has described her reunion with her grandfather as an emotional, sentimental moment. “When I go to Iran [every summer], I feel so safe, people are so warm and loving. After this weekend, seeing [the protestors] from LMU made me love LMU even more. People care.”