University of Nevada president tells banned-travel students to stay put

RENO — The University of Nevada, Reno is recommending that students and scholars from the seven countries listed in President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration remain in the United States the next four months.

In Southern Nevada, at least four refugees who had been approved for settlement and due to arrive in the Las Vegas area in the coming weeks have had their flights canceled in the wake of President Trump’s freeze on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. And one elderly couple who were trying to fly home to Henderson after attending a wedding in Iran were detained nine hours at a Chicago airport, delaying their return an extra day, a family member said.

University of Nevada President Marc Johnson said in a statement late Monday that Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order has raised concern among members of the university community on the Reno campus.

“We encourage diversity of experience and perspectives and must continue to embrace this important aspect of our mission while providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students and employees,” he said.

Johnson said the university currently is reviewing the situation, but in the meantime recommends no one from the countries barred from travel — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — leave the U.S. for the next 120 days. He pointed to a statement on the website of the university’s Office of International Student and Scholars that says if anyone affected chooses to leave the country, “their visas may be revoked and their re-admission to the U.S. would be in doubt.”

In Southern Nevada, statewide refugee coordinator Carissa Lopez-Ramirez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that nine refuges from six countries were expected to arrive within the next two weeks. Five still plan to make the trip, but she said four — including two from Iraq and one from Iran — didn’t board their respective flights over the past few days. She said the state refugee program received word of the formal cancellations on Monday.

The family of an elderly couple who were trying to return from Iran to their home in Nevada said the couple was questioned for nine hours without food and water at a Chicago airport and missed their connection to Las Vegas because of Trump’s order.

Both are green card holders and have lived in Nevada for five years, said Bita Nasri of Henderson.

“They were terrified not knowing what was going on,” she told KLAS-TV. She said they ended up returning to Las Vegas on Sunday.

Jacob Deaville, co-founder and treasurer of UNLV Campus Conservatives, is among those defending the executive order.

“President Trump is taking steps to ensure the safety of our country,” he told the Review-Journal. “The countries listed on this particular executive order have a high influence and susceptibility to terrorism. It is not simply a Muslim ban.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment