University of South Carolina officials Monday met with about two dozen students from some of the seven Muslim-majority countries listed in President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Three more meetings are planned before Friday as the university works to answer international students’ questions about the president’s executive order and explain the resources available to them, including counseling, a USC spokesman said.
Trump’s executive order bars citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States.
USC has 67 current students from Iraq, 59 from Iran, seven from Libya and two from Syria. Trump’s order has not directly affected any of them, the school has said.
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“Some international students have had questions and concerns,” USC spokesman Jeff Stensland. “We know that there are more that probably haven’t reached out yet.”
In an email over the weekend, the state’s flagship university assured its international students USC is committed to their safety but advised them against leaving the country for now.
Clemson University offered the same advice on Saturday.
“The executive order is aimed at new entries into the United States, those not yet in the country, and we believe nothing in this executive order will compel you to leave before the expiration of your status,” USC said in the email. “However, we would advise you to not leave the country in the short term in case the executive order creates issues with re-entry. We will provide additional information and guidance soon.”
Trump has stood by his order despite some public backlash, calling the ban necessary for national security.
USC president Harris Pastides tweeted Sunday afternoon, “We value int’l students, faculty & staff and are committed to their safety and success regardless of religion, ethnicity or nat’l origin.”
USC’s meeting Monday with students was closed to the public because of federal privacy regulations, Stensland said.