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University of Alberta president vows support for those impacted by Trump’s travel ban

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WATCH ABOVE: Immigration lawyer Raj Sharma joined Global News Morning to talk about US President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens from seven countries, and offered advice for those affected – Jan 30, 2017

The University of Alberta said it’s assessing the impacts of Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel into the United States, while expressing support for those affected.

U of A president David Turpin said the institution stands with students and staff who are citizens or dual-citizens of the countries banned entry into the U.S.

“We will do everything we can to support you during this period of uncertainty,” Turpin said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and its impact on current and future members of our university community, and will provide further information on supports and assistance as we know more.”

READ MORE: Canadians with dual citizenship won’t be affected by Donald Trump travel ban

Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia are the seven countries on the travel ban list. The order temporarily bars the citizens of the seven majority Muslim nations from entering the U.S.

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Six per cent of the university’s graduate students come from one of the seven countries, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research said

The faculty said it will release information to graduate students Tuesday on resources impacted students can access.

“Beyond that – we just don’t know yet. We are still trying to figure out the full implications of this U.S. decision,” Assistant Dean Amy Dambrowitz said in a statement.

“We are exploring whether it will be feasible for the U of A to take a role in helping the many thousands of students who may be unable to complete their studies in the U.S.”

A U of A researcher, who was born in Iran and holds a permanent resident card, said he was denied entry into the United States Saturday.

Dr. Parsin Haji Reza, who works on cancer research and is part of the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta, said he and five colleagues from his research team were heading to the States to attend a biomedical engineering conference in San Francisco.

READ MORE: Alberta biomedical engineer with Canadian permanent resident card denied entry to U.S.

Haji Reza’s colleagues were able to board their flights but he said he was denied a boarding pass. He said he was travelling with his permanent residency card and a travel visa he obtained from the United States Consulate in Calgary prior to the trip.

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“At the airport, unfortunately, they did not let me to pass through,” Haji Reza said Sunday.

“They told me that because I was born in Iran I can’t pass through the airport.”

Turpin said the U of A is committed to diversity, inclusion and equity “in the face of rising isolationism and division.”

READ MORE: “I feel sub-human”: The faces of Donald Trump’s travel ban

“These values guide our actions every day in a myriad of small ways, but sometimes, we are called to stand up for them in visible and vocal ways.”

Universities Canada released a statement that the ban affects research partnerships, international studies, academic conference participation, field visits and personal relationships of students, faculty and staff.

“The new order is having an impact on Canadian campuses and communities that is real, immediate and profound,” read the statement.

 

The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers said it is “experiencing the shock waves” of the ban.

The centre has been an immigration agency for 35 years and serves 16,000 newcomers to Edmonton annually.

“Many of our clients and students are from the banned countries and are now experiencing a great disturbance in their lives,” the centre said in a statement. “This has disrupted the logistics of plans, but more importantly, this has caused immense emotional distress for many of the newcomers that we serve.”

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