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WSU Students Rally In Response To Trump Immigration Order

Dozens of people gathered at Wichita State University Tuesday to show support for Muslim, international and refugee students. Many held signs condemning President Donald Trump's executive order that temporarily bans nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. 

WSU is the most diverse institution in the state of Kansas, and those at the rally said they want it to stay that way. 

Graduate student Amir Zabahi is from Iran. He said he's afraid of what the president's actions could mean for his future.

Credit Jordan Kirtley / KMUW
WSU graduate student Amir Zabahi is from Iran and says President Trump's executive order on immigration has him worried for his future education in the United States.

"I had planned to apply for my Ph.D. I don't know what's going to happen to me," he said. "What is next? What is the next stage? What's going to happen to us?"

Zabahi said the community at WSU has been supportive, but his family back home in Iran is worried for his safety. He said he has been speaking to family members daily, keeping them updated on his situation. Zabahi will graduate this spring and had hoped to bring his family here for the ceremony. But now, that might not be an option.

"I think that this is not right," he said. "This is not an America that I used to think about."

WSU seniors Jabria Strickland and Alexis Boddy also attended the rally. They stood on the edge of the crowd, joining others in chanting "the people, united, will never be defeated."

"America is supposed to be the land of the free," Boddy said. "We're supposed to have equal rights for everyone. But where are the equal rights?"

Both women mentioned the diverse student population at WSU as their motivation for coming to the rally. On Monday, university President John Bardo released a statement of support for the school's international students and employees.

Also on Tuesday, a separate group assembled outside of Sen. Pat Roberts' office in downtown Wichita. Roberts is in D.C. but the group said they hope he will listen to his constituents here in Kansas.


Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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