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Triangle Residents, Businesses React To President Trump's Executive Order

U.S. Representative David Price held a press conference on Monday, January 30, 2017 to denounce President Trump's executive order. Holding a sign is Mimi Fatuma, 50, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo who arrived in the U.S. in early 2015.
Rusty Jacobs
U.S. Representative David Price held a press conference on Monday, January 30, 2017 to denounce President Trump's executive order. Holding a sign is Mimi Fatuma, 50, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo who arrived in the U.S. in early 2015.

Upated 1:11 p.m., February 2, 2017.

North Carolina Congressman David Price said on Monday he will introduce legislation to immediately rescind President Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Related: Where Does NC's Congressional Delegation Stand On Trump's Immigration Order?

The North Carolina Democrat appeared in Durham with more than 20 refugees from a host of countries in the Middle East and Africa. Among them was Zeed Al-Zoubi, who escaped Syria’s civil war with his wife and six children last September and re-settled in Carrboro. The reason they came was simple.

“I escaped death basically,” said Al-Zoubi, adding that without green cards, Trump’s travel ban has created a lot of uncertainty for him and his family.

Speaking through a translator, Al-Zoubi said he knows the ban is meant to prevent danger but wants the Trump administration to know it is affecting innocent people.

“They should always, you know, instead of thinking about the few people who may actually cause problems, to look at the weak because they are the ones who actually need help,” he said.

Price acknowledged he’ll need Republican support to push any such legislation forward.

“Believe me, this goes past, or should go past any kind of party considerations,” Price said. “I think some people’s patriotism is going to be tested, some people’s fidelity to the constitution is going to be tested.”

The controversial executive order and the ensuing uproar have even caused some congressional Republicans from North Carolina to raise objections. On Tuesday, Senator Thom Tillis issued a statement saying he had co-signed a bi-partisan letter urging Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired general, to consider the impact Trump’s order would have on Iraqis who had assisted the U.S. military mission in that country.

Also, in a statement, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx said while the U.S. has always been a country that welcomes immigrants, national security is the number one job of the federal government.

"Given shortcomings in the current screening process, I joined a bipartisan House majority in supporting legislation to strengthen the vetting process for individuals seeking entry to the United States through the Visa Waiver Program or as refugees," Foxx said. "The Executive Order signed by the president on Friday came with little clarity and caused much uncertainty for foreign travelers. Additional implementing guidance is needed to ensure that the order can be applied in a fair and equitable manner."

State organizations react to President Trump’s executive order

The North Carolina NAACP is among the organizations that say President Trump's executive order on immigration is unlawful. The group spoke out against the order during a press conference on Monday.

State NAACP President Reverend William Barber said banning refugees is a mistake, and pointed to the United States' restrictive refugee policies during World War II.

“I mean, we've been through this before,” Barber said. “This nativism, this extreme nationalism, and this isolationism didn't work in the past and it's not going to work now.”

Barber said his group plans to march in Raleigh next month against what he called "Trumpism."

Meanwhile, Francis De Luca, president of Raleigh-based conservative nonprofit Civitas Institute, said the action was “well within the president’s purview.”

“I think the protest are kind of manufactured outrage...part of a larger effort to confront the newly elected president, and make sure his poll numbers don’t go up,” De Luca said.

Tech companies, universities respond to the executive order

North Carolina's colleges and universities are telling students who might be affected by President Trump's immigration order to avoid traveling. 

Schools across the state sent emails to their students, saying they should not travel outside the country until the effects of the order are better understood.

Duke University and Davidson College went a step farther, and explicitly said they would not release immigration information about their students. 

“Unless there is a valid subpoena, Duke University has no intention of providing immigration or other protected confidential information to anybody,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president of public affairs.

Tech companies in the Research Triangle have also been reviewing President Trump's executive order.

In a press release, Raleigh-based IT company Red Hat press release said the company benefits “from immigration laws that both seek to protect the public and recognize the we have have diverse backgrounds.”

Official said they are looking carefully at Friday's U.S. executive order on immigration and how it will be implemented.

“From what we see so far, we are concerned that the changes are inconsistent with Red Hat's values, including diversity,” the statement read.

At IBM, officials said the company does not know of any employees who have been affected by the order, but that it is committed to assisting those who need it.

In a statement, the company said it supports "the balance between the responsible flow of people, ideas, commerce and information with the needs of security, everywhere in the world."

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
Jason deBruyn is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Digital News, a position he took in 2024. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016 as a reporter.
Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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