UA officials respond to Trump travel ban update - Tucson News Now

UA officials respond to Trump travel ban update

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

University of Arizona officials are responding to President Donald Trump's new executive order Monday, placing a travel ban on six majority-Muslim nations. Their recommendation remains relatively the same, that students and faculty from the blocked nations should "not depart the U.S."

According to Mike Proctor, Vice President for Global Initiatives at the University of Arizona, because the situation in Washington is dynamic, they are still formulating a plan for the protection of their international students and faculty.

The new travel ban removed Iraq from the previous list of banned nations. The updated ban halts entry for 90 days for people from six Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Proctor said that in the past, he has been stopped for hours at a time for additional screening at airports because of his international travel schedule. He said it can be terrifying for his more than 150 students and faculty from these blocked Muslim-majority nations.

"You put a young person in that situation, who hasn't been through that before, and it's a fundamentally different kind of experience. Regardless of the impact of the order, we have to also take a look at how people are treated as they are coming and going [from airports], even with legitimate Visa's," Proctor explained.

The Trump Administration continued to state the purpose of the ban was to keep would-be terrorists out, even though no one from the six countries has committed a terrorist act in the U.S.

Proctor believes his students and faculty have to be wary of the updated ban, even if they are here on legal grounds.

"We've informed all of our faculty, either who may be impacted by these issues, or students with respect to the first order. And we're in the process of advising them now of things to keep an eye out for, and what this means to them."

The new executive order comes after Trump's original order, which was signed Jan. 27, was met with heavy criticism due to its chaotic implementation and perceived targeting of Muslim travelers.

Taha Hasan with the Islamic Center of Tucson spoke to Tucson News Now about the original ban in late January, calling it unconstitutional and "an affront to the American way of life."

Lawsuits were filed against the original executive order in states across the U.S., including Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Minnesota and Washington. Several of the lawsuits resulted in temporary blocks of the order, preventing officials from detaining or deporting anyone with a valid visa or green card.

On Monday, not much had changed for Hasan and his concern for his fellow U of A classmates. Reports say the new executive order goes into effect March 16. The U of A is on Spring Break between March 11 and March 19. Hasan worries there is no guarantee of a safe return, should his fellow students decide to leave the country.

"That does not guarantee that they won't be harassed when they're traveling abroad, or that they might not be able to get back into the country. There is no absolute that if they do leave, that they're going to be able to come back in. So it's still a fear," Hasan explained.

The U of A senior believes while there is less risk now in the updated executive order, it is still problematic.

"There is still a fear that there is this atmosphere that you can't take away with just signing papers. These things breed and they grow. So if you create that anti-Muslim environment, that's not going to go away just because you take out some provisions from a Muslim ban."

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