‘Everyone is welcome here’

Refugee solidarity gathering held at Eisenhower airport

“This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island,” demonstrators sang outside of Eisenhower Airport Sunday afternoon.

The demonstrators gathered in support of refugees and immigrants in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order barring the admittance of refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries into the United States.

Protesters carried colorful signs, waved American flags high in the air and rolled out unified chants for two hours.

“We’re pushing back against hopelessness,” said Brittney Doll Schaeffer, who organized the demonstration and works at Wichita State’s Community Engagement Institute. She said that a rough count yielded over 200 protestors.

“All of us came to this country as immigrants,” Schaeffer said.

Police Chief Gordon Ramsay also made an appearance and stood among demonstrators.

“(Chief Ramsay) came and said, ‘As a son of immigrants, thank you for doing this,’” Schaeffer said.

Jannet Balderrama, a sophomore, came to the United States from Mexico when she was five years old. She was a DACA student for three years and is currently on visa.

“I know nothing about (Mexico). I can tell you everything about the United States and its history, Balderrama said.

“This is where I was raised and this has become my culture and my home.”

She said she and other DACA students spoke with University President Bardo last week, expressing their concerns and asking that the university protect the rights of undocumented and international students.

Balderrama said she would not have been able to work or go to school had it not been for DACA.

“I would like to see more vocalization of the support of the students. It’s kind of like, ‘yeah we support you,’ but they need to show it more and this is a good way to start – to welcome students into their office and let them know that they’re here to listen.”

Andrew Mai, a junior, said it is wrong for policies to target individuals because of their religion.

“If people allow something like this to happen, it’s just going to snowball from here.”