UW-Whitewater professor cancels trip amid travel ban legal fight
WHITEWATER, Wis. — The United States has become home to Sorush Aslani, who has live in the states since 2008. Despite that time, Aslani says he fears if he leaves the country, he won’t be let back in.
“What happens tomorrow, what happens next week — if you cannot predict the behavior of the government you cannot plan on anything,” he said
Planning is an important part of Aslani’s life as a professor at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics. He started teaching at the university in 2014 and received his U.S. green card a year ago, making him a permanent resident. He is worried that his Iranian citizenship makes traveling out of the country too risky.
“I’m passionate about my job, my work, friends, people around me, and it’s not a pleasant feeling that overnight the government signals that you are not welcome here. Anymore although you have not done anything wrong. You have been a law abiding citizens, your contribute to society,” he said.
Iran is one of the seven countries listed under President Donald Trump’s refugee and immigration ban that is currently suspended. While visa-holders are rushing to reunite with families in the United States, Aslani is holding off on a planned visit to Canada where his mom is dealing with health issues.
“You want to visit your family and if you go there and they don’t let you in , the whole class, life, my teaching , my students. It jeopardizes the whole thing,” Aslani said.
Trump argues the temporary ban will protect the country from terrorists and vetting processes need to be stronger. However, the professor who went through four months of vetting and has seen the impact immigrants have made, believes diversity makes us stronger.
“These immigrants are building a foundation for that. Better education, better quality of research, and as a society that’s how we advance together,” he said.
Aslani said he doesn’t know when he will feel comfortable traveling out of the country. Despite his concerns and the uncertainty of what’s to come, he said he is focused on the future.
“The focus is first what happens next, to me, other people that are in a more vulnerable situation than me and in a broader sense what direction our country is going,” he said.
At least one UW-Whitewater student is affected by the executive order, university spokesman Jeff Angileri said.
Aslani said while his travel was affected by the ban, he is concerned with the immigrants and refugees who do not have the same legal status as him. Despite the impacts, he says he has been encouraged by the support he has received in the community.
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