US travel ban: Texas colleges urge immigrant staff, students to avoid foreign travel

Express News Global

The University of Houston currently has 280 students from the impacted countries as well as many faculty and staff.

By: PTI | Houston | Published:February 1, 2017 2:50 pm
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Demonstrators gather outside Tom Bradley International Terminal as protests against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries continue at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)Universities in Texas have urged its staff and students from the seven Muslim-majority countries affected by US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigrantion ban to avoid overseas travel. The University of Houston currently has 280 students from the impacted countries as well as many faculty and staff. “Anyone who could be affected should avoid international travel,” President and Chancellor Renu Khator said, adding that advisers and attorneys at the immigration law clinic at the University of Houston Law Center are on hand to offer guidance.

“As a diverse and inclusive community that believes in the power of education, the University of Houston (UH) stands with our students, faculty and staff from all countries, races, religions and backgrounds. We understand the anxiety of the members of our campus community who may be affected by this and offer support to them”, Khator, a top Indian-American woman academician, said in an email to staff and students. As of Monday, at least one student was currently outside the US and unable to return, according to UH.

In addition, UH has more than 300 faculty members who are foreign nationals; two of them may be impacted by the new travel restrictions. The University of Texas at Austin has told immigrant faculty and students to avoid the Mexican border and overseas travel. “I am proud to say we have 110 students, faculty members and scholars who are citizens of the seven affected countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The talents that brought them to UT are deeply valued, and their perspectives represent an essential part of the university,” UT President Gregory L Fenvis said in a message.

Many of the UT community members from the affected countries are currently in the US and we strongly encourage them to refrain from international travel at this time. To those who are abroad, please exercise caution and know that we are doing everything we can regarding your return to UT. At Texas A&M University, President Michael Young said that people from the seven countries should stay in the US until they finish their programmes.

“Finally, and most importantly, we are Aggies united—inclusive of nationality, cultural identity, age, gender identity or expression, physical ability, political ideology, racial and ethnic identity, religious and spiritual qidentity, sexual orientation, and social and economic status—so please respect each other, stay informed, and support each other as Aggies do!” Young wrote in his message to campus.

More than 1 million international students studied at US colleges and universities in 2015-16. Trump had signed an executive order that bans entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations: Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and ban on refugees, including women and children, from entering America which will last for 120 days. More than 100 academics from Texas colleges and universities have signed a petition against the travel ban.