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Oklahoma Leaders Issue Statements On Travel Ban

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Some Oklahoma leaders are speaking out from both sides of the immigration order, days after President Trump issued an executive order which temporarily bars the citizens of seven majority Muslim nations from entering the country. 

1/26/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor, Police Chief Respond To President’s Executive Order On Immigration

Republican Sen. James Lankford issued a statement Sunday evening: 

"As leaders, we have a responsibility to secure the homeland. The executive action issued Friday is a 90-day pause and reevaluation of the screening process for individuals traveling from seven war-torn nations and a 120-day pause for the refugee resettlement program. It is not a ban on Muslims or a permanent change in immigration policy. This executive action has some unintended consequences that were not well thought out.

I encourage the president's staff to evaluate American policy with an eye on both security and compassion for the refugees fleeing the terrors of war and persecution. For decades, our resettlement program has maintained a very extensive multi-year screening process for refugees from all over the world.

There are unique challenges when you accept refugees from countries like Syria and Yemen, but American security and intelligence communities are second to none. America can have strong homeland security and uphold our foundational values of religious freedom and refuge for the persecuted. These goals are not mutually exclusive. We should also encourage, not discourage, people who have gone through the legal visa and immigration process. America has always welcomed people from different walks of life, religions and countries, and we should continue doing so." 

Lankford issued his full statement after an initial Tweet Sunday afternoon in response to the executive order: 

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren issued a statement on Trump's Executive Order:

"Members of the OU community:

We are monitoring the developments in U.S. immigration policy resulting from President Trump's new executive order. Dean Suzette Grillot and the College of International Studies staff have been in contact with students who originated from the seven countries affected by the executive order.

Our understanding of this executive order continues to evolve as federal officials release more information. Our strong recommendation to persons who might be affected by the executive order is to refrain from traveling outside of the United States if they are already here, or try to return to the United States as soon as possible if currently outside of the country.

The University affirms its support for all faculty, staff and students who may be affected by these developments. I especially want to reiterate our strong support for our international students, who are valued members of our university family. Bringing international students to study in our country helps build lasting friendships with people all around the world. Those who study in our country become persuasive and articulate friends of the United States when they return to their home countries. When we reduce the opportunities for young people to come to America to take advantage of the educational opportunities here, we not only harm them, but we also damage the image and inspiration of America around the world. 

Should you have any questions or if we can guide you to support services, please contact the College of International Studies 24/7 hotline at (405) 630-5392 or International Student Services at iss@ou.edu or (405) 325-3337."

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis also issued a statement regarding the order, stating that it created confusion and anxiety throughout the country and on the OSU campus:

"Oklahoma State University is concerned about the recent executive order restricting re-entry into the United States for citizens of certain countries. The order has created confusion as well as anxiety throughout our country and on our campus. Many of our faculty, staff and students come from across the globe. International diversity provides perspectives, experiences and opportunities that enrich the classroom experiences at our university and prepare our students to work in a global community. 

Our international student center will be reaching out to international students, faculty and staff who may be affected by this order. We will work with our legal advisors and our Oklahoma political leaders to determine our options to support our international community at Oklahoma State.  

As President of Oklahoma State, I encourage all to work together in support of our international community, which through the years has greatly enhanced the OSU land-grant mission and our campus experience."

University of Tulsa President Gerard P. Clancy also issued a statement this evening to TU Alumni: 

"TU family,
Learning thrives when scholars around the world are free to collaborate. As an academic community that is home to 1,047 students from 74 other nations, The University of Tulsa is troubled by President Trump's Jan. 27 executive order suspending visas for travelers from seven nations, including some nations that are home to current TU students. The university understands and strongly supports the imperatives of national security, but it also cautions against measures that are overly broad and that carry unconsidered consequences that harm scholarship, commerce, individuals and families and the ideals of opportunity that have traditionally made America great.
TU is rich in diversity, and our commitment to humanity is embedded into our mission, which will not be compromised. This is why, today - and every day that follows - we stand together as one family, respectful, united and strong."

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