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Immigration ban sparks student concerns

President Donald Trump's executive order prohibiting citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days has sparked protests, lawsuits and concern nationwide. Although only one University of Wisconsin-Superi...

President Donald Trump's executive order prohibiting citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days has sparked protests, lawsuits and concern nationwide.

Although only one University of Wisconsin-Superior student is affected by the order, it has raised a flurry of questions.

"International students are concerned given the uncertainty surrounding the ban," said Mark MacLean, director of UWS' Office of International Programs. "Some students have discussed leaving the U.S.; some are reconsidering their plans to pursue graduate school in the U.S.; and others are worried about what will come next."

Danielle Kaeding with Wisconsin Public Radio reported that around 130 students at University of Wisconsin campuses may be affected by the order, according to UW System spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis. Countries affected by the immigration ban include Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen. In addition, the order suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely.

The UWS campus has 215 international students from 46 countries, plus 11 students from six countries in the on-campus intensive English language program.

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"International students enrich our campus in so many ways," MacLean said, from classroom discussions and athletic teams to student organizations, language programs and community. "The opportunity to study, work, live and become friends with international students often inspires U.S. students to study abroad. It helps prepare U.S. students for a job market that will only be more diverse and international over time. UWS international students also have an economic impact of more than $4 million on the region."

UWS and other campuses have been utilizing guidance from the Association of International Educators that advises citizens of the seven countries not to travel outside the U.S. in the next 90 days.

In a prepared statement this week, UW System President Ray Cross said all students are important to the future of the state and the nation.

"A key part of our university culture is that we respect the rights of individuals - and that different ways of thinking are encouraged, supported and celebrated," wrote Cross. "Immigration policy is extremely important to higher education, and we will closely monitor any developments and share information with our campuses as it becomes available."

Cross also advised students to inform their families of the immigration ban and carefully consider any travel plans outside the U.S. He urged anyone traveling abroad to notify U.S. embassies and the embassy for the country of their destination.

Democratic state lawmakers in Wisconsin have introduced a resolution asking the Legislature to denounce Islamophobia and hate in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee legislators, Sen. Chris Larson and Rep. Jonathan Brostoff wrote the resolution. They say it condemns all hateful speech and violent action directed at Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants and people of color. Brostoff told Wisconsin Public Radio's Chuck Quirmbach that Trump's executive order is a Wisconsin issue.

"The only thing it takes for tyranny to take over is for good people to do nothing when it's happening," Brostoff said. "These sort of attacks are not welcome in Wisconsin. They're not our values and don't represent us."

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Residents can sign an online petition calling for Wisconsin officials to pass the Joint Resolution to Resist Hate at www.ResistHateWI.com .

Minnesota on Wednesday joined with other states in suing the federal government over the executive order banning immigration,

"It does not pass constitutional muster, is inconsistent with our history as a nation, and undermines our national security," Attorney General Lori Swanson said in a press release. "America can keep its people safe without sacrificing bedrock constitutional principles."

Wisconsin Public Radio contributed to this report.

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