The Trump Effect

by Protima Daryanani


It’s only been a little over two months since President Trump was sworn in and already his immigration policies, executive orders, and implementation guidelines—not to mention his own anti-immigrant rhetoric—have had a wide-ranging impact on US businesses, educational institutions, international partnerships, industries, and, of course, immigrant communities. Through his interactions with foreign leaders, he is also altering the world’s perception of the United States. What exactly has he done? Here we highlight some areas in which the “Trump Effect” is being felt.

US Colleges See Decline in Foreign Applicants  

Nearly forty percent of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students, according to a survey of 250 college and universities by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, with the biggest decline in applicants from the Middle East. Wim Wiewel, the president of Portland State University, met recently with ten prospective students in Hyderabad, India, and many students expressed fears about coming to the US. One Muslim student said his father was worried about the anti-Muslim attitude in America. “Several others said they were concerned about the ‘Trump effect,’” he tells the New York Times in an email. "I’d say the rhetoric and actual executive orders are definitely having a chilling effect."

Many students originally interested in applying to US schools are now considering higher education in Canada. “We have seen an increase in applications from the US and from international students in the last week,” Jocelyne Younan, the director of global undergraduate recruitment at McGill University in Montreal, writes in an email. “We’ve also seen an increase in students inquiring about McGill on social media.”

Andrew Chen, the chief development officer at WholeRen, an international education consulting company in Pittsburgh, says colleges in other countries are trying to recruit based on fears about President Trump. “Many organizations and programs are starting to use this to promote education in the UK, Australia, and Singapore,” Chen says. “These competitors paint the US as not safe. Now, with Trump, they’re saying it’s going to be unfriendly.”

After Increase in ICE Raids, Undocumented Spouses of US Citizens Are Frantically Applying for Green Cards

Vice examines how undocumented spouses of US citizens, shaken by the recent increase in deportation raids by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), have been rushing to apply for Green Cards and provisional waivers. Immigration attorneys tell Vice that they have helped clients file at least double the usual number of applications since late January, when President Trump issued his executive order effectively prioritizing all undocumented immigrants for deportation. Austin immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch says: "I've seen mostly couples with multiple US citizen kids who have been living with one partner undocumented for many years, but all of the sudden, they can't live with the fear.”

Undocumented Immigrants Suffering from Domestic Violence are Scared to File Reports and Testify

Again following the uptick in immigration raids since President Trump’s executive order, women who are undocumented are concerned about reporting domestic abuse because they are worried they themselves will be deported. Nonprofits including the Tahirih Justice Center, an organization headquartered in Virginia which helps immigrant women flee violence, are seeing their calls skyrocket, but despite these calls victims are afraid to come forward and often aren’t pressing charges or moving into shelters. Staff at clinics and domestic violence shelters in cities with high numbers of undocumented immigrants report a large drop in the number of women coming in for services. 

Even people who work with these issues are saying they have not seen this level of fear,” Sandra Henriquez, executive director of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault tells BuzzFeed News. Prosecutors in Denver, for example, say the department had to drop four domestic violence cases when victims refused to show up at court after Trump’s January executive order. “A lot of the domestic violence incidents are done in private, so the cases are highly dependent on a victim’s testimony,” Kristin Bronson, Denver’s city attorney, tells BuzzFeed News. “It’s very disheartening.”

School Officials Are Assuring Parents that Children Will Not Be Detained on School Grounds

Deportation fears are also causing local school districts to assure parents that their kids will be not detained at school, while at the same time encouraging parents to have a plan in place in case those  parents are detained. This fear comes after a father was detained after dropping his daughter off at school. Many undocumented parents are also looking to obtain legal guardianship options for their children in case they themselves are deported.

Immigration Judges Will Be Sent to Border Detention Centers

The Justice Department says it will temporarily transfer immigration judges to six detention centers mostly near the border with Mexico in an effort to put President Trump’s immigration directives into effect. Trump’s executive order on border and immigration enforcement in January orders judges to be assigned to immigration detention centers, a move that takes away judges from immigration courts, where many individuals have to wait years for their case to be heard. At the end of January, the backlog stood at 542,646 cases, including 20,856 people who were being held in custody.

While Andrew Nietor, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) San Diego chapter, says having judges physically present at the detention centers is better for clients than when judges connect by video from remote locations, others point out this move translates into longer waits for those individuals who aren’t being held. Attorney Jeremy McKinney, a Greensboro, North Carolina, attorney and AILA board member says: “Now we’re starting to see cases postponed out into 2021. Those families continue to live in legal limbo.”

Trump Has Snubbed International Allies and World Leaders

Most recently, during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House, President Trump appeared to ignore her request for a handshake, although the White House claims Trump did not hear the request. This slight, small though it may have seemed, was analyzed in depth by the US and foreign press. President Trump had routinely criticized Merkel during his campaign saying she was “ruining Germany” and has also claimed that Germany owes “vast sums of money” to NATO funds, a charge that Germany says is inaccurate. Germany is one of our closest European allies.

While UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent visit was mostly uneventful, the White House recently accused Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, the agency known as the GCHQ, of spying on President Trump at the request of former President Obama. GCHQ quickly denied the charge calling it “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous,” as British officials contacted American counterparts to complain and insist the accusation should never be repeated.

The claim that former President Obama wiretapped President Trump has been rebutted by US intelligent agencies, FBI director James B. Comey, and the NSA chief Admiral Rogers. Former British ambassador to Washington, Sir Peter Westmacott, says the accusations are “gratuitously damaging” and that “by peddling falsehoods and then doing nothing to set the record straight would be a gift to our enemies they could only dream of.”

President Trump’s first international snub was to one of the US’s strongest allies, Australia. During a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump blasted the prime minister "over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win,” then abruptly ended the call halfway through, saying of all his calls with international leaders that day this was “the worst call by far.”

Companies in Agricultural and Farming Industries Are Worried About Labor Loss

In a twist, red states that voted for President Trump now worry about a labor loss in the construction, farming, and agricultural industries due to Trump’s immigration policies. In Nebraska, the Pew Research Center estimates there are about 30,000 unauthorized immigrants, an estimated 3.2 percent of Nebraska’s total labor force. They make up approximately eighteen percent of Nebraska’s construction workers, nine percent of production and food processing workers, and five percent of farm laborers. A spokesman for meat processor Greater Omaha Packing says that he doesn’t know what effect Trump’s policies might be on the company, but confirms that foreign workers are essential to their business (though the company pointed out they use E-verify to verify employment eligibility). “Greater Omaha Packing believes that we have essentially reached full employment in our area and need to avail ourselves of non-US workers who are willing to fill the jobs we have available that would otherwise remain unfilled,” company attorney Mark Theisen says.

Tourism and US Flights Are Decreasing

As we reported previously, both of President Trump’s travel bans were blocked by federal courts. Nevertheless, the blocked bans, in addition to disrupting the lives of many innocent immigrants and refugees, have negatively impacted US air travel and threaten US tourism. After the first ban, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) estimates that $185 million in business travel bookings were lost “due to a lack of traveler confidence.”

Emirates President Tim Clark says that the airline saw booking rates on US flights fall by thirty-five percent since the initial ban. “I am concerned,” he says. “It’s the tone of it. We have brought millions of Muslims to the United States, but now they may not feel welcome, they may look at going on holiday elsewhere.” Even with Trump’s travel ban blocked, citizens of the countries named in the ban are nervous about leaving the US and trying to return, including Iranians who wanted to celebrate Persian New Year with relatives.

All African Attendees for Economic Conference in California Were Denied Visas

The African Global Economic and Development Summit is a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC) designed to bring delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US to foster economic and business partnerships. This year the conference had no African attendees, after every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected. Many are questioning whether the denials are tied to the anti-immigration policies of President Trump. Mary Flowers, the conference’s organizer, says roughly sixty to one hundred people from at least a dozen nations were denied entry to the summit. “I don’t know if it’s Trump or if it’s the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone,” Flowers says. “These trade links create jobs for both America and Africa. It’s unbelievable what’s going on.”

A spokesperson for the US State Department issued a statement: “We cannot speculate on whether someone may or may not be eligible for a visa, nor on any possible limitations…Applications are refused if an applicant is found ineligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act or other provisions of US law.” Since Trump’s inauguration, numerous others have been denied visas or entrance to the US, including Tibetan soccer players, musicians, doctors, tech workers, and protestors.  

Immigrants Are Seriously Reconsidering Whether the America Dream Applies to Them

Last month a US Navy veteran named Adam Purinton allegedly opened fire on two Indian patrons, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a thirty-two-year-old engineer, who was killed, and his colleague Alok Madasani, who was injured but survived. Purinton, who had been thrown out of the bar where Kuchibhotla and Madasani were drinking after he called them ethnic slurs and said that they did not belong in the United States, returned a short time later and fired on the two men. Hate crimes spiked dramatically after Trump’s election, a BBC report finds. Sunayana Dumala, Kuchibhotla’s widow, writes: “Lastly, to answer the question that is in every immigrant's mind, DO WE BELONG HERE? Is this the same country we dreamed of and is it still secure to raise our families and children here?”