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Idaho, Washington foreign students urged to stay in US

Associated Press

MOSCOW – University presidents in Idaho and Washington State are urging foreign students to avoid trips home or international travel following President Donald Trump’s recent executive order.

The order blocks people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, along with other limitations placed on refugees. Specifically, the executive order addresses travel from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz and University of Idaho President Chuck Staben told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that students from the Muslim-majority countries singled out by Trump are safe in the U.S. with their valid visas but would not be permitted to re-enter the country if they leave.

“It does not matter that they would be traveling with a student visa, at the time they seek to come back into the U.S. their entry would be blocked,” said UI associate law professor Kate Evans. “That has happened over the course of the weekend.”

At Washington State University, 130 international students are from the countries mentioned in Trump’s order. The University of Idaho has 21 such students.

“We will be reaching out and advising them not to travel abroad until we know more about the specific practices that will be implemented,” Staben, the UI president, wrote in a statement to faculty, staff and students.

Schulz, of Washington State, wrote that “we are carefully monitoring developments to better understand how the executive order issued Friday will impact our community.”

WSU international programs communications coordinator Craig Lawson said his office was busy all day Monday working on addressing student concerns.

International Studies Director Bill Smith said he has not heard of any UI students or faculty struggling to re-enter the country, adding that most people are on campus because the semester is already in its fourth week.

But Smith said the travel ban might force students to reconsider traveling home for family emergencies, among other things.

“Obviously now you’d have to think very carefully about that, whether you can get back in to continue your studies or not,” he said.

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