CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois universities are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s sweeping travel ban that has left some students and professors stranded abroad.
The University of Illinois System put out a statement Monday saying its three campuses are “greatly concerned” about the ban and “strongly recommend that students and scholars who might be affected defer travel outside the U.S.” School officials say they’re working with those affected and offering resources.
University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer says the ban puts “unnecessary restrictions on the flow of talented scholars and students” into the U.S. and damages the school’s ability to “fulfill its highest aspirations.”
Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro says the Evanston school “will take the necessary actions to protect our students, faculty and staff.” He says Northwestern is “committed to being a welcoming and inclusive community.”
Trump’s order sowed more chaos and outrage across the country Sunday, with travelers getting detained at airports, panicked families searching for relatives and protesters marching against the sweeping measure that was blocked by several federal courts.
Attorneys struggled to determine how many people had been affected so far by the rules, which Trump said Saturday were “working out very nicely.”
But critics described widespread confusion and said an untold number of travelers were being held in legal limbo because of ill-defined procedures. Others were released. Lawyers manned tables at New York’s Kennedy Airport to help families whose loved ones had been detained, and some 150 Chicago-area lawyers showed up at O’Hare Airport after getting an email seeking legal assistance for travelers.
“We just simply don’t know how many people there are and where they are,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Advocates for travelers say the chaos is likely to continue. The executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, Marielena Hincapie, said “this is just the beginning.”
“We’re really in a crisis mode, a constitutional crisis mode in our country, and we’re going to need everyone,” she said. “This is definitely one of those all-hands-on-deck moments.”