• WEATHER ALERT Severe Thunderstorm Warning

International students in Philadelphia concerned, fearful

EMBED </>More Videos

Khalil A-Toupi is an international student from Oman says there is, suddenly, a tangible sense of anxiety among his friends. (WPVI)

Khalil A-Toupi is an international student from Oman, a Middle Eastern country whose residents are currently not banned from entering the United States, but he says there is, suddenly, a tangible sense of anxiety among his friends.

All of A-Toupi's friends were too fearful to speak to Action News on camera.

Though, several anonymously wrote their thoughts on a wall.



"I know some of my friends are from Libya and Iran, I'm concerned about them completing their studies here in America," A-Toupi said.

Last year, International House Philadelphia in University City provided housing for more than 1,000 students from 80 different countries. While most are from China, the travel ban has brought out a renewed solidarity among the residents.

"We have a few students in the house that have been directly affected; they are from the nations identified," Matthew Doherty of the International House Philadelphia said.

International House employee Waseem Al Juboor emigrated from Iraq less than a year ago.

He and his family would not have been permitted into the country under President Donald Trump's executive order.

"They are scared of this order because they don't know what is the next step," Al Juboor said.

Late Monday night, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann released a particularly forceful statement blasting the order and stating that she is the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi Germany.

Her statement said in part:

"...We must not and will not remain silent...We will do everything in our power, speak to every friend and ally, and leave no stone unturned in our efforts to urge President Trump to change course and rectify the horrible damage this Order has caused."

The sentiments at International House Philadelphia are similar, but the fight is only beginning.

And for those too fearful to publicly fight back, what they've seen so far is encouraging.

A-Toupi said he has not changed the way he sees America.

"Because I see many people still protesting against what Trump has done," A-Toupi said.

Full Statement from University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann:

President Trump's recent Executive Order is injurious to our work and inimical to our values. The damage already done to the lawful freedoms and opportunities of our students and colleagues, here and around the world, is undeniable and indefensible. This Order will weaken the promise of educational opportunity, intellectual discovery, and global engagement that so distinguishes American universities.

I am the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi Germany. My grandfather was an immigrant. My son-in-law is an immigrant. My family's story is part of a proud and productive American story, as is all of yours.

Immigration strengthens the fabric of this nation and our University. Immigrants spark innovation, launch new businesses, and enrich our culture and arts. They are a precious national resource and invaluable to Penn.

We must stand together, united in our support of beloved colleagues, students, friends, and families who, no matter where they come from or how they worship, have contributed so much to our University community and to this country.

We are heirs to Penn's heritage as the nation's first secular university, where all religions are welcome. We are heirs to the genius and humanity of Ben Franklin.

As such, we must not and will not remain silent.

We stand for open-hearted compassion and open-minded opportunity. We will remain unyielding in our allegiance to our fundamental principles and to each other. Penn will not bend.

Staff across the University are right now assisting our affected community members with legal counsel and other resources.

In addition to those efforts, we will do everything in our power, speak to every friend and ally, and leave no stone unturned in our efforts to urge President Trump to change course and rectify the horrible damage this Order has caused.

Related Topics:
newsphilly newsimmigrationPresident Donald TrumpstudentsCenter City Philadelphia
(Copyright ©2017 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments