Higher-education associations in the United States are urging President Donald Trump to reverse his executive order that blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days.
"The administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible," says Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities. "The order is stranding students who have been approved to study here and are trying to get back to campus, and threatens to disrupt the education and research of many others."
Trump's order, issued Jan. 27, caused chaos at the nation's airports over the weekend as immigration officials stopped many travelers coming to America from entering. The ban applies to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Many of those trying to enter the United States are students enrolled in institutions here, university officials say. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) says the most recent figures show that more than 17,000 students from the seven countries studied at U.S. universities during the 2015-16 school year.
"The new order is causing significant disruption and hardship to some university students, researchers, faculty, and staff who are citizens of the seven countries targeted and happened to be abroad at the time it was issued," says a statement from Peter McPherson, president of the APLU. "These individuals returned home to visit in compliance with the immigration designation they received, but are now stranded abroad and unable to return to their studies and responsibilities in the U.S.
"This means that students’ work toward degrees are in question and the ability of faculty to continue teaching or conducting research is uncertain. On a personal level, some of these people are now separated from family members and torn away from the lives they had already legally established in the U.S."
“The hardship is now clear and," McPherson continues," as a matter of fairness and in accord with the values of this nation, the decision that bans these current visa and green card holders from returning for 90 days should be promptly reconsidered.”
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) also issued a statement urging the Trump administration to rescind its order.
"The United States has long benefited from scientific, cultural and economic contributions of international students and scholars,' says Muriel Howard, AASCU president. "America's state colleges and universities have been strengthened by the presence of students and faculty from around the globe, including those from the seven countries specifically targeted by the president's executive order."