Mich. universities warn foreign students to stay in U.S.
Officials at Michigan universities are reacting to President Donald Trump’s executive order, showing support for international students and warning them not to travel.
Many of the university officials say they’re still trying to sort out what changes to immigration laws and policies will mean for their students.
“Wayne State University is very concerned about the possible effects of the administration’s recent executive order on our international students and scholars,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said in an email Monday to the university community.
“We remain committed to being a welcoming and inclusive campus for students and scholars from around the world regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, or nationality. This is a proud part of our history, and is woven into our mission, our vision, and our strategic plan. International students and scholars, through their contributions to our society, culture, and economy, enrich not only the campus community but also our city, state, and country.”
Trump’s executive order Friday suspended refugee admissions for 120 days, and bars all immigration for 90 days from Muslim-majority countries with terrorism concerns: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria.
Wayne State University has more than 100 students from the affected countries, officials said.
Wilson said the university is working with other universities and academic organizations to better understand the impact of the order.
“We strongly encourage our students and scholars, particularly those from Muslim countries and countries affected by the recent executive order, to stay in the U.S., as their admittance back into the U.S., even with a valid visa, is open to question,” Wilson said.
Michigan State University officials warned their international students against travel to affected countries “unless absolutely necessary.”
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon called the immigration order “deeply concerning.”
“I am keenly aware of the need to address genuine risks to our nation but this order, and the manner it was implemented, is not the best approach,” Simon said in a statement.
“I join my (Association of American Universities) colleagues and other higher education leaders in expressing our concerns regarding the collateral damage caused by this action and calling for a quick end to the order. We must protect our borders, but we also must ensure we do not stem the flow of people of goodwill who come and work to make this nation better.
“Our students and scholars come from around the world to become Spartans, and then return to the world to make it better. We must not allow fear to change the nature of who we are.”
Simon said the university has a team monitoring the situation and communicating with affected faculty, staff and students.
On Monday, Western Michigan University President John Dunn said the school has nearly 100 students from the seven countries as well as other Muslims among its 1,900 international students.
“Sadly, while it may not have been the intent of the executive order, many students, faculty and staff are feeling fearful, threatened, unwelcome, and cut off from their nations and their families who reside in the seven countries identified in the order,” Dunn said in a letter posted on the university’s website.
“It is now impossible, at least for a period of time, for any of them to travel home for a break or family emergency. If they do, they may not be able to return to complete their studies.”
Dunn asked that university staff show support to international students.
“As educators and compassionate citizens, we must do all that we can to counterbalance the negative impact of political developments over which they have no control,” he wrote. “Further, it is my intent as president to do all in my power to protect and advocate for our international students.”
On Saturday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said the university welcomes and supports students regardless of immigration status. He said the university complies with federal requirements associated with managing its international programs.
“Otherwise, the university does not share sensitive information like immigration status,” Schlissel said.