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Episode 93: President Trump’s immigration order – Alaska reacts

By Rhonda McBride 4:00 PM February 6, 2017

This week on Frontiers, we looked at Alaska’s reaction to President Donald Trump’s immigration order, which imposed a temporary ban on refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. From Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to the Federal Building, protestors immediately took to the streets in Anchorage. Churches weighed in, along with other groups.

Maybe one reason the order strikes such a nerve: Almost all Alaskans, not just immigrants, are newcomers to this state — except of course for Alaska Natives, who make up about 15 percent of the population.

The protests also broke out in a state that helped put Trump in the White House. Those in favor of the President’s order claim there’s wide support, but it’s just not visible.

Given the controversy, it seemed like a good time for Frontiers to look more closely at this issue. Here are some of this week’s highlights:

Immigration order review

KTVA anchor Joe Vigil looks at how the debate unfolded in Anchorage during the past week.

Our guests this week

  • Mara Kimmel, first lady of Anchorage and head of the Welcoming Anchorage Project. Kimmel, aside from being the wife of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, has worked as an immigration lawyer and believes the immigration order will harm Alaska’s new Americans.
  • Former Mayor Rick Mystrom, one of the founders of Bridge Builders, a group formed to promote diversity in Anchorage. Mystrom is also a longtime conservative voice in Alaska politics and generally supports the president’s immigration order, though he says it was poorly executed.

Legacy of Bob Walp

We also take time to remember Bob Walp, one of the founders of GCI – probably not a name familiar to most Alaskans. In this profile, Frontiers looks at how Walp, an early champion of satellites, drove the fight for competition in Alaska, as well as new technology.

This week’s show is a mix of subjects, but if there is one thread – there’s something about Alaska that draws people here in search of opportunity. And many of them find success, which lifts up the whole state.

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