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UTRGV Students Share Concerns over Immigration Order

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EDINBURG – Some Rio Grande Valley college students hope current events help people understand immigrants and their voyage to the U.S.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to several University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students from Pakistan, Nigeria and Tampico on Monday.

While they are not directly affected by the president’s travel ban, the students said they feel overshadowed by their appearance and their religion.

Nigerian immigrant Roshni Manwani said she’s concerned about the recent travel ban.  

Another student, Jose Garcia, of Tampico, said several peers were told there would be a hiring freeze on international students at the university.  

Pakistani immigrant Rujman Khan said hope is what drives her to prove the Trump administration wrong.

“If you just come and talk to and get to know Muslims, you would understand… It’s always the people that make the noise, that do horrible things that are noticed,” she said.

Khan is a UTRGV freshman studying biology. She’s planning to pursue pre-med just like her father who practices medicine in the Valley.

Khan said she came to the U.S. from Pakistan with her family when she was three years old. As a practicing Muslim, she said she never felt singled out until last Friday.

“As a religion of peace - where Islam literally means peace – it’s kind of awful that people think that we’re a bunch of terrorist just walking around,” she said. “I think that’s just very improper because it’s just a small fraction.”

While President Trump’s travel ban doesn’t single out religion, it does target predominantly Muslim countries. Khan hopes the events that followed the ban will start a dialogue.

“There is a lot of misconception about what Islam and what do Muslims do,” she said.

Khan said family and friends haven’t felt the effects of the travel ban yet. She said she’s mainly seen an outpour of support.

“I have not heard of anyone being harassed or anything like having problems,” she said. “Even though it’s a bad time, because of the way the administration is trying to treat us, our neighbors and our fellow people here have been supporting us. So we’re very thankful.”

Khan is an officer with the Muslim Student Association. She said the group is planning an Islam Awareness Week in February. The organization welcomes questions from people in order to dispel rumors about Islam. 

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