Trump order impacts UDM students, staff

Thirty-two international students at Detroit Mercy, as well as some faculty and staff members, are impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order related to immigration.

“The executive order suspends entry to the United States of immigrants and nonimmigrants from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days, with limited exceptions,” explained Weihong Sun, director of International Services at Detroit Mercy.

All of those countries have Muslim majorities.

In addition, the order – which on Friday was disrupted by a judge’s ruling – calls for enhanced vetting of those entering the country and blocks entry of all refugees (regardless of country) for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely.

“This executive order has both an immediate and potential future impact on some of our students, faculty, staff and their families from the seven designated countries,” said Sun. “With this immigration ban, students, professors and researchers who have plans to travel outside the continental U.S. during this period may find themselves in limbo. Other students and scholars may find themselves separated from family members who are living abroad for 90 days.”

Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi issued a statement Jan. 30 in response to the order, reaffirming the university’s “essential mission to educate, serve and welcome everyone within our distinctive community.”

It has been echoed by others at the university.

“We stand ready to assist any faculty or staff that may have to work through an immigration challenge,” said Steve Nelson, associate vice president for human resources.

Nelson noted that Detroit Mercy also can draw on the expertise of its own law school immigration clinic.

“If a student comes to Human Resources with a concern of any kind, we will make sure that we put them in touch with the appropriate office to adequately address any concerns they may have,” he said.

Further, the International Services Office has created a web page with resources related to Trump’s order.

Sun said the office has emailed affected students and plans to follow up with them.

On Friday, the Muslim Student Association and University Ministry sponsored a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with those impacted by Trump’s action – as well as the victims of the Jan. 29 Quebec City mosque attack in which six Muslim-Canadian men were murdered.

“The point is to stand together against hatred and to honor the victims,” said Mona Hammoud, president of the association. “Any act of violence or unwillingness to respect and be open to others’ beliefs is something nobody should stand for. We’re hoping to be able to stand next to the rest of our peers and condemn that notion of shunning. We want to remind people that we are one.”