Florida universities react to immigration ban

Florida universities react to immigration ban

President Donald Trump’s campaign rumors of “extreme vetting” and deportations have turned into reality amid an executive order signed Friday to temporarily ban citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

While the ban was signed in hopes of filtering out radical terrorists from entering the United States, many students, researchers and university professors with no known terrorist links are stranded abroad. Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq are the countries affected.

These same scholars who hold green cards and visas from countries named in the travel ban now have academic careers that are in limbo for the next 90 days. The order restricts any refugee from entering the country and Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.

“We are advising international members of our FSU community who are from the affected countries not to make any plans to leave the United States,” said Florida State University President John Thrasher in a memo issued on Sunday.

FSU has 60 students from the affected countries and one graduate student is currently unable to return to Tallahassee from Iran until the restriction is lifted.

Thrasher went on to write, “We all know that our university has long been enriched and strengthened by the cultural and intellectual diversity these scholars contribute…they are conducting vitally important work that adds to the body of knowledge while broadening the educational experience for all FSU students.”

Trump’s temporary ban could have lasting effects on Florida’s economy. During the 2013-2014 academic year, 36,249 foreign students added $1.1 billion to state revenue according to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors.

Florida A&M University also released a statement to its campus urging students to speak with the Office of International Education and Development before making international travel plans.

“There are currently approximately 200 international students within our campus community, and we are working to determine how they, as well as international faculty and staff, have been impacted by the executive order,” said Interim President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. on Monday.

With an estimate of 200 foreign students attending FAMU, he also acknowledged the impact the executive order could have on the university’s international education, research and service endeavors.

“We stand ready to assist in offering solutions to support and strengthen the higher education and research community in light of the recent changes to U.S. foreign travel and immigration policy,” said Robinson.

Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott said that “he is focused on public safety for his state,” during an interview in south Florida. The governor’s office has not released an official statement of support or condemnation on the executive order.