Governor Snyder, Ferris president release statements regarding Trump immigration order

BIG RAPIDS — An immigration Executive Order issued last week by President Donald Trump has impacts throughout the country, state and even in Big Rapids.

On Friday, Jan.27, the White House issued an Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” relating to visa issuance, screening procedures and refugees. The order “suspends” the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from the designated countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the United States for at least 90 days. It also suspends refugees’ entry into the United States for a minimum of 120 days, and in the case of Syrian refugees, indefinitely.

With the order specifically targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, it has been called a “Muslim ban” by opponents. In a statement, Trump said the order is not a Muslim ban. However, in a tweet on the president’s personal Twitter account he referred to it as a ban when defending the sudden nature of the announcement.

On Tuesday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder issued a statement calling for protecting residents while also remaining a welcoming state.

“I support safe and secure borders,” Snyder said. “As the governor of Michigan, I also know firsthand the strong economic and entrepreneurial culture that has developed in our state because of the vast number of immigrants who have settled here for generations.

“Michigan has been one of the most welcoming states for legal immigration and properly vetted refugees. Michigan is the best place to live the American Dream and I will continue to encourage people to move here from other states and countries to fulfill their visions and find success.”

The statement went on to say Snyder planned to reach out to other governors and the Trump administration to gain a complete understanding of the security processes and procedures in place and how the new executive orders might affect people trying to legally enter Michigan.

“The President’s 120-day reassessment period is leading to a much-needed national dialogue on immigration policy, and I plan to be part of that discussion,” he concluded.

The order faced backlash from numerous groups, including Democrats, religious organizations, foreign policy experts and others. However, some Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, spoke positively about the Executive Order.

Thousands of protesters mobilized in airport terminals across the country in response to Trump’s orders. Protests also took place outside the gates of the White House.

As a result of the order, students, visitors and green-card-holding legal permanent United States residents from the seven countries — and refugees from around the world — have been stopped at airports in the United States and abroad.

On Monday, Ferris State University President David Eisler issued a statement, noting the order impacts the university on many levels.

“This order affects our international community here at Ferris State University and compromises the opportunities for study abroad, international travel, and the employment and enrollment of faculty, staff and students from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen,” Eisler said. “Our international students, faculty and staff are feeling a strong sense of uncertainty over their futures here and the lives they have built for themselves and their families.”

Provost Paul Blake will host a meeting this week in coordination with the Office of International Education and the Diversity and Inclusion Office to visit with international students, faculty and staff in order to provide support and learn more about how the executive order will affect those working and studying at Ferris State University. More details about the meeting have not been announced.

“Our core values remain at the heart of this institution and its commitment to opportunity, diversity and equality for all,” Eisler said. “Together we will work through this period of uncertainty and provide the support and assistance for our international students, faculty and staff need during this challenging time.”

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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