After Hawaii’s Attorney General Doug Chin challenged Donald Trump’s latest travel ban, Trump supporters started a social media campaign to “#boycotthawaii,” according to BuzzFeed. The boycott entailed people canceling vacation plans to Hawaii and vowing to not support the state through future ventures. However, local BYU-Hawaii students said they’re fine with less tourists though they know tourism is necessary to sustain Hawaii’s economy.
David Auna, a sophomore in international cultural studies from Hauula, said, “At first I thought it was a joke. It still seems to be a joke. People not coming to Hawaii is bad, like Hawaii depends on tourism. But it would be nice to have more space on the road, so it could be more country-like. My automatic response is to say if you don’t want to come to Hawaii, don’t come.”
Auna often works with visa letters through his job at the Registrar's Office and said, “Having a ban is good and bad at the same time. It comes down to honesty and being honest with yourself and others. I think that it’s personal. I think it’s important that people are honest with their paperwork. I understand that people sometimes don’t have a choice or they didn’t have control over how they came here, but I think ‘#boycotthawaii’ is childish. They’re missing out on Hawaii.”
The hashtag began on Twitter and spread to other forms of social media such as Facebook. Halia Bangal, BYUH alumni from Kailua, said, “From a local point of view, I think that the negativity from those who started the ‘#boycotthawaii’ is just plain silly and a little ignorant. Those who started that hashtag don't really no much about Hawaii and our aloha spirit. I support our local government and their decision to block the temporary order.”
A secondary education major from Hauula, Sampson Watson said he is happy about Chin’s decision. “We need to be showing aloha to any race and religion. Of course, for the backlash of 'Boycott Hawaii,' if they don’t want to come here, we have enough tourists. I do hope that ‘Boycott Hawaii’ is an eye opener for locals and mainland people to help them realize how dependent we are as a state rather than self-sustaining.
“We rely on everybody for everything. Even our milk is imported from the mainland, yet we have so many cows. Maybe Hawaiians will further realize how big tourism is and how much we depend on it. For example, when natural disasters happen in Asian countries, Hawaii takes big cuts in tourism because those countries weren’t coming here. That affected our economy.”
Another local BYUH student, who wished to remain anonymous for political reasons, said, “I do believe that the judicial system in America is in need of some long overdue fine-tuning. Hawaii judge's decision to overrule President Trump's ruling on banning immigrants is a bit overkill. I believe that everyone should stand up for what they believe is right, but our country will be in shambles if we aren't united.
“A large part of that is picking our battles wisely and striving to make conditions where we all can meet in common grounds as opposed to making drastic decisions of opposition like ignoring an executive order.”
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Chin decided to act on the travel ban on the state level despite discouragement from other leaders. Jean Ireton, a Honolulu prosecuter, said, “I have a problem with the amount of vetting [the government is] able to do in those countries. [However,] Doug sees it from a people perspective. He sees it from people who are suffering.”
Growing up, Chin faced scrutiny as a young Asian boy in a white suburban high school in Seattle, as reported by the Star. “I wanted to fight for [the] invisible minorities in Hawaii. It really hits home with me. It worries me about this society and what is happening,” he said.
Chin is known by his coworkers and friends as a genuinely nice guy, according to Ireton. As she compared Chin to herself, she says, “He’s just a kinder person than I am. I don’t have as much faith in people as he does.”
According to AP, Trump’s administration is in the process of appealing the judge’s ruling.