Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban affects 130 UW students

AP and WiG reports

The University of Wisconsin urged about 130 affected students not to leave the U.S. because they might not be able to return if President Donald Trump’s travel ban affecting seven mostly Muslim countries again goes into effect.

The ban was under a court-ordered temporary hold as WiG went to press.

Uncertainty reigned as a federal judge stayed the Trump order on Feb. 3 and the issue went to an appeals court.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker broke his silence on the ban, saying, “We should ensure we are doing everything possible to put the safety of our citizens first.”

Walker had opposed Trump’s call as a presidential candidate in December 2015 to ban all Muslims from entering the country.

Freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, of Green Bay, said the ban “could have been better handled” by the Trump administration.

Gallagher, a U.S. Marine veteran, said Trump should have worked more closely with Congress to ensure those who fought with the U.S. in Iraq and legal permanent residents were not affected.

Critics, including every Democrat in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, denounced the travel ban as un-American.

“This goes against everything our country represents, going back to our founder’s conviction in the United States as a nation where the government does not discriminate against any religion,” Emilio De Torre, youth and program director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, said during a news conference at the Islamic Resource Center in Milwaukee.

‘Real people’ affected

Trump has insisted the order he signed is not a ban on Muslims entering the country but is instead a measure designed to keep the country safe.

The order includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

A 24-year-old man escaping violence and torture in Sudan did not arrive in Wisconsin as scheduled Jan. 29 due to the temporary immigration ban, said Mary Flynn, program director of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. The man’s case had been expedited because he was a victim of torture, Flynn said. Six other individuals to be helped by the group in the next few months had their cases canceled as of Jan. 30, Flynn said.

Fessahaye Mebrahtu, executive director of the Pan-African Community Association in Milwaukee, said many of the Iraqi, Somalian and Sudanese refugees his organization worked with have been waiting for family members to arrive. The executive order put those plans on hold, he said.

There are about 130 UW students statewide affected by the order and they should not leave the country, president Ray Cross said in a message to the campuses. UW-Madison spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said university officials were working with one student whose plans to return to the U.S. may be affected by the order, but she had no further details.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank called for Trump to reconsider the order, saying it affects “real people — researchers, scholars, students and staff — who are essential to our goals of providing a world-class education.”

Associated Press writers Ivan Moreno and Cara Lombardo contributed to this report, which was put together by WiG.