Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring immigrants and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country for at least 90 days. The order also barred all refugee admissions for 120 days, and issued a permanent ban on Syrian refugees. (Vox’s Dara Lind has a breakdown of what the order means here.) The sum of these actions is being referred to as a “Muslim ban,” and reports indicated it can even bar green card holders.
The move has triggered a wave of outrage and disgust from a wide array of communities around the world, among them immigrants (and children of immigrants) working in academia in the United States. And overall, the moves reinforce the myth that immigrants and refugees are inherently dangerous.
Some are taking to Twitter to respond.
Mina Cikara, an assistant professor in psychology, and Joel E. Martinez, a graduate student at Princeton, launched the hashtag #ImmigrantExcellence with an invitation to fellow immigrants to share stories of their contributions to the United States. Initially, Cikara did it in response to the news (earlier in the week) that the Trump administration would be publishing a weekly list to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens,” as a Trump executive order reads.
Cikara, who studies intergroup conflict, worries that such a list “would make representations of immigrants as criminals more cognitively accessible,” she says.
The #ImmigrantExcellence stories below are a reminder of the extraordinary contributions and achievements of immigrants in America — whether they came as refugees from war-torn countries or just simply wanted a better life. (“This is also not meant as a means to justify immigrants' existence in the US,” Cikara stresses, but rather to share stories to combat the negative stereotypes.)
Here’s what they have to say:
My mom immigrated from Egypt. She & my bro are electrical engineers in Canada. I'm starting as a professor at Columbia #immigrantexcellence— Mariam Aly (@mariam_s_aly) January 27, 2017
My greatgrandparents escaped religious persecution in Russia. I was born in , got PhD in , now an editor @ Nature #immigrantexcellence— Jenn Richler (@JennRichler) January 28, 2017
My family fled Eastern Europe in WWII. 2nd generation now serving the US as epidemiologist & environmental engineer. #immigrantexcellence— Lydia Clarkson (@prettypvalue) January 27, 2017
My dad, Iranian, was studying in France during revolution. We immigrated to US. I'm a scientist & prof at UC Davis. #immigrantexcellence— simine vazire (@siminevazire) January 27, 2017
My mom fled communist Poland w no money, no degree, no English. Today I teach the next gen of new Americans at Berkeley #immigrantexcellence— Edward Miguel (@tedmiguel) January 27, 2017
dad refugee from Hungarian revolution in 1956 (now chaired prof at Temple), i was born in Israel, now UPenn Prof #immigrantexcellence— Yphtach Lelkes (@ylelkes) January 28, 2017
Born and raised in Mexico 3-year postdoc at Yale exploring ways to make people cooperate, not build walls. #immigrantexcellence— Antonio A Arechar (@AaArechar) January 27, 2017
from Vietnam, boat people, refugee camp, sponsored by church to US at 2y. now physician(oncologist). love our country! #immigrantexcellence— Hien D. Liu, MD (@hiendliu1) January 28, 2017