Alaskans react to executive order on immigration

 Left to right: Aden Aden, Lara Nations, Osman Aden.
Left to right: Aden Aden, Lara Nations, Osman Aden. (KTUU)
Published: Jan. 30, 2017 at 6:30 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

President Donald Trump continues to defend his executive order on immigration to its critics, calling it a step in the name of protecting Americans.

It's an issue that's drawing mixed reactions from many Alaskans, including two men who were born in Somalia and are now uncertain about their family's futures.

Osman Aden and his brother Aden spent years living at a refugee camp in Kenya.

"Hot sun and also a lot of dust and not having an opportunity to get further education, people are dying without food and drink water, it's really difficult over there," Osman said. "People can't transport any way, they need, it's like being in jail."

Osman said since he moved to Alaska in 2009, life is much better and he's now a freshman at University of Alaska Anchorage studying business administration.

"I like it, there's cool people, there's a lot of opportunities, I love it," Osman said.

While he is a citizen of the United States, his brother Aden is not.

"I'm a green card holder," Aden said.

Aden said like other refugees from other countries, friends in Kenya planning to come to the United States had to turn back two days ago.

"They're taking a plane back to their camps, back to a refugee camp," Aden said.

Aden said he's afraid to leave anywhere or go on a family vacation.

"I can't go with my family because I got a green card," Aden said. "My kids and my wife are American, they have their passport I can't go and I can't send my wife and kids to a country when I don't know what is ahead of them."

While the Adens wait to see what happens with the executive order, immigration attorney Lara Nations has several recommendations for non-U.S. citizens.

"If you're in the airport and you're having a problem, don't sign anything, don't talk to the agents, just ask to speak to a lawyer," Nations said.

University of Alaska Fairbanks confirmed Monday afternoon an employee who is a post-doctoral researcher is currently in Iran and planning to return at the end of the week.

Marmian Grimes, a spokesperson for UAF said the university's international programs office is providing her with a letter of support to help with her re-entry into the U.S.

In a letter to the University of Alaska community, president Jim Johnson said, "We are concerned about the well-being of our students, faculty and staff who may be traveling and kept from returning to our universities as a result of this policy. Although that number seems to be small, any impact is concerning."

UAF said it identified a total of 6 employees and students from countries named in the executive order, but 5 of them are currently in the U.S.

Alaska Pacific University issued a written statement, APU's president, Robert Onders said the school is open to students from across the world.

"APU is committed to supporting any members of the Community that are currently, or will be, impacted by the new federal immigration restrictions," Onders wrote.