UMN creates team to help those affected by immigration policies

The team will address questions about immigration policy at the University.

Champlain intern at Fairview Wenson Masoka and policy research analyst for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Sarah Radosevich talk during a small group session at

Chelsea Gortmaker

Champlain intern at Fairview Wenson Masoka and policy research analyst for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Sarah Radosevich talk during a small group session at “Welcoming Immigrants to our Communities” held at University Lutheran Church of Hope on Saturday afternoon. The event hoped to spark discussion on what it means to be an immigrant in light of Amy Klobuchar’s immigration reform bill that passed the senate in June.

Raju Chaduvula

To address concerns over the effect of immigration policies on students, University of Minnesota administrators have created a new team to field questions.

The new group, called the Immigration Response Team, was created by the University and provides resources and support to anyone affected by changes in federal U.S. immigration policy.

The team is led by Marissa Hill-Dongre who previously worked as an immigration lawyer and with the University’s International Student and Scholar Services.

She said the team was created in a response to faculty and students’ feedback.

“The Provost and I are committed to ensuring that all who are affected by any immigration policy changes will have a clear and accessible path to resources and support, and to get their questions answered in a timely fashion,” President Eric Kaler said in a statement. He originally announced the team in his State of the University address on March 2.

The University also recently launched the #ImmigrationSyllabus website to help educate people on the history of immigration reform and policy in the U.S.

Since President Donald Trump took office, he has signed two executive orders prohibiting immigrants from specific Muslim-majority countries. Both were met with immediate criticism and protests. Meanwhile, lawyers nationwide deemed the ban unconstitutional, and several courts blocked the ban.

At the University, several students said they felt unwelcome by the ban; at least one experienced complications coming to the U.S. after being accepted to the school’s mechanical engineering doctoral program.

“We will also provide outreach to the greater University community on issues around immigration, [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], and diversity,” Kaler said in the statement.

Hill-Dongre said the team is still being formed and has an event scheduled for April 11 where faculty, students and staff can talk about how to help respond to immigration questions.