McGill University courts international graduate students affected by US travel ban
McGill University’s faculty of law is reaching out to international graduate students who won’t be able to continue their education in the United States because of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Richard Gold, associate dean of graduate studies for McGill’s faculty of law has opened the door to the international students affected by U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority nations.
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There is no formal application deadline Gold says, but he asks international students in need of assistance to “send us the documents and we will look at them.”
Since the offer has been extended, McGill has received six applications. Gold said he expects no more than 20 will apply.
“What is important here, I think, is not just the ability to come here but the signal that the legal community is supportive of them,” Gold said.
The aim is to help international students from the seven countries at the centre of the ban who applied for an American university scholarship and are uncertain of their fate, but Gold said the window is also open to Muslim students who feel threatened.
“We are flexible and are willing to help,” Gold said.
Some law students attending McGill also felt compelled to act — independently from the university, and rallied together to offer their support.
“It all started with three students who got into contact through social media,” McGill student Farnell Morisset said. “They jumped into cars and went straight to the airport … We just decided to show up and see if there was anything we could do to help.”
But now they’ve taken things a step further.
The McGill students have started a website called YULhelp.ca where travellers denied entry to the U.S. can seek legal advice and connect with legal professionals. The website is meant to help those in need of more information surrounding the legal confusion and turmoil. The website is available in French, English and Arabic.
“Lawyers have a particular responsibility to stand up and defend those who are weak,” Gold said.
Several Canadian universities have also launched initiatives to try to help foreign students affected by the ban.
Bishop’s University says that it will be waving application fees until April 1 for students holding passports from the seven countries affected by the ban.
The University of Toronto is keeping a “close watch”on the situation according to its website and the university’s president, Meric Gertler, was quoted as saying, “We support Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent statement that Canada will continue to welcome those ‘fleeing persecution, terror and war’ regardless of faith and affirming that ‘diversity is our strength.'”
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