From conflict to Cabrillo
Muslim students at Cabrillo react to the proposed travel ban and a volatile post-election political climate
By Bryce Stoepfel
Sarah, 18, is a Syrian Muslim. For the sake of anonymity, sheís requested that we not use her real name or publish her photo. That is the level of uncertainty and fear that has been unleashed by President Donald Trumpís proposed travel ban.
By the age of 17, war was part of everyday life for Sarah, now an 18-year old Cabrillo College student.
ìOnce we were just walking downtown, and a mortar shell fell 50 feet away from me. You see your life flash in front of you when you see all this happening,î Sarah said. † †
ìI saw people falling down and getting killed. It was foggy. I was with a friend and we went into an alleyway. Iím not sure if that was a good idea, but thatís where a lot of people went. A lot of people had the same idea because when one falls at least a half dozen come down at once,î Sarah said. †
Born in Damascus, as a teenager she was stuck in the middle of a brutal civil war that has torn Syria to pieces.†Since 2011 more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed according to a December 2016 report from CNN and 4.9 million have been displaced according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs. †††††††
Since Sarah was three years old, she and her family traveled to the United States every few years to visit relatives living in Santa Cruz. Two of her brothers chose to stay in Santa Cruz with the extended family and the trips came with enough regularity for Sarah to embrace American culture.
All that all changed in 2011 when all hell broke loose in Syria. In 2012 Sarah and her parentsí green cards expired. They were stuck and didnít know what to do.
In 2015 Sarah and her mother decided to travel to Beirut to request the assistance of the U.S. Embassy. The war had intensified to a point where the family decided to seek a way out and they decided it was time to give it a shot.
ìThey refused to renew my momís green card. For me, they decided to renew mine since I was under 18. They wanted to save me