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President Kaler responds to Trump’s immigration executive order

In a statement released Sunday, Kaler expressed solidarity with the communities affected by the order.
University President Eric Kaler presents during a meeting  on  March 12, 2013, at the Minnesota state Capitol.
Image by Daily File Photo
University President Eric Kaler presents during a meeting on March 12, 2013, at the Minnesota state Capitol.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler released a statement Sunday night expressing concern over President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

While he didn’t take a position on Trump’s order, Kaler said the University has a long history of welcoming students and faculty from around the world, and that the school will support those affected by the order.

“We will advocate for you,” the statement said. “You are entitled to be treated with justice and dignity, and the University of Minnesota stands with you.”

At least 125 students across the University system from the affected countries could be impacted by the move, according to University Office of Institutional Research fall 2016 enrollment data. There is no data for about 3,800 students system-wide, and it’s unclear how many faculty and staff are from the seven countries included in the ban.

On the Twin Cities campus, there are at least 113 students from the impacted countries, with the most — at least 102 — listing Iran as their home country.

The executive order — signed last Friday — impacts immigration procedures for students, refugees, immigrants and permanent residents from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Kaler said in the statement that University officials have been communicating with members of those communities to find whether they fall under the order.

“We are grateful to count among our community more than 8,000 students and scholars from around the world, including hundreds from the seven nations identified in the executive order,” the statement said.

Immigration and legal resources are available through International Student and Scholar Services and University Student Legal Services for anyone who has specific questions, Kaler said in the statement.

Trump’s order has sparked widespread criticism, including in the Twin Cities. Trump and his administration have said the order was needed to protect the U.S. from radical Islamic terrorists.

Nearly one thousand people attended an event to address the executive order held by Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis Sunday night. Omar, the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country, was once a refugee.

The session was held at the Brian Coyle Center in Cedar Riverside, a neighborhood where a majority of Minneapolis’ Somali and Oromo people live.

Besides Omar, several other local and state politicians attended the session, like Ward 3 and Ward 6 Minneapolis City counclimen Jacob Frey and Abdi Warsame, as well as Mayor Betsy Hodges and Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin.

At the session, Omar said the goal of the day was to comfort, reassure and educate people of the community and those impacted directly by the executive order, which she called “anti-Islamic, xenophobic [and] racist.”

At the session, Jaylani Hussein, executive director of Council on American-Islmaic Relations’ Minnesota chapter, said policies like banning immigrants do more harm than good.

“These policies will not make Americans safe,” he said.

Mohamud Noor, who ran against Omar this past election, spoke at the rally, saying Trump’s policies are tearing communities and cities apart.

“This is not who we are,” Noor said at the rally. “This is not what America is.”

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