As lawyers in California debated President Donald Trump's travel ban, the University of Illinois Springfield held a town hall meeting to explore the implications of the president's actions on immigrants and refugees.
Organizers of the event said it was planned before they learned that the legal arguments would be presented at the same time.
More than 50 people, including students and staff members, attended the event, which was held in the lobby of Sangamon Auditorium.
Springfield resident Mike Dahmane graduated from UIS last year and works with the Illinois Innocence Project. When asked why he attended the event, he talked about his father, Abderrazak Dahmane, an immigrant from Tunisia who became an American citizen.
"He taught at this school. He was an English professor. He spoke three languages," Dahmane said. "When he became a citizen, it was one of the proudest days of his life. He lived the American dream. He pulled himself out of poverty"
Mike Dahmane's father died in 2004. If he were still alive, Dahmane is sure that he would be helping people who want to come to America to escape violence and terrorists. "He would be doing everything he could in his power to make sure that the good people who are escaping the terrorists that we so fear ourselves can come into this country legally and continue to live," Dahmane said.
Late last week on Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle temporarily blocked Trump's order.
On Tuesday, government lawyers asked a federal appeals court to restore Trump's executive order. They argued that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter the United States.
Several states, however, have challenged the ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations and argued that the move by Trump is unconstitutional.
A ruling is expected later this week.
This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 7, 2017.
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