Universities grappling with impact of Trump’s immigration ban

Colleges and universities are grappling with the implications of President Trump’s executive order barring people from seven mostly-Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The order, which affects citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, has left international students and faculty fearing expulsion, stranded outside of the country, detained or uncertain of whether to travel. University leaders have pledged support to those whose lives are being upended by the new rules, but they, too, are unsure of the full ramifications of the order. [Trump officials appear to walk back inclusion of green-card holders in travel ban even as others defend it] Courts in several cities have blocked enforcement of the ban, while the Trump administration says green-card holders will no longer be affected. Still, the Department of Homeland Security said Sunday that it would continue to implement the order despite the judicial rulings, creating more confusion and frustration. Schools across the country scrambled Sunday to account for international students, faculty and staff with social-media posts signaling problems and attorneys in some cases having trouble getting to talk with people being detained. There was confusion about whether just student visas were at risk, or whether green-card holders and dual citizens might be detained, as well. The impact on university personnel was felt almost immediately after the executive order went into effect. Two Iranian nationals who are associate professors at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth were detained Saturday upon arrival at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Arghavan Louhghalam and Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni, both of whom are green-card holders, were held for several hours before being let go, said Susan Church, a lawyer who helped get them released. “They were overwhelmed by emotion when they reunited with their families and when they heard all of the people cheering and holding signs of support,” said Church, who heads the New England chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Church, who said she had had about two hours of sleep Saturday night, joined a throng of immigration and civil rights lawyers at the airport to offer legal counsel to targeted immigrants. Early Sunday morning, two federal judges in Boston issued a seven-day halt to Trump’s order. The reprieve is temporary, but for Church, who called the president’s order “patently unconstitutional,” it was an important first win. “This is what makes America great,” Church said. “Two federal judges came in late on a Saturday night to hear this case. They were responsive to a dire situation.” Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia and George Washington University are among several schools telling students and scholars affected by the ban to refrain from traveling outside the United States because of worries they may not be allowed to re-enter. “It’s very, very disruptive to students who are in the middle of training; it’s very disruptive to master’s and postdoc students who are involved in experiments, who are doing research. It’s not just them who are affected, it’s their research project that is affected,” said Lizbet Boroughs, associate vice president for federal relations for the Association of American Universities. “There’s the humanitarian concern, the moral concern — which is paramount.” Boroughs said the order could ultimately hurt the country’s competitiveness if the best and brightest research...

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