Action News 5 | Immigration ban stalls Mid-Southerners’ international travel

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – President Donald Trump’s immigration ban caused shockwaves across the country. The executive order led to protests at major airports across the U.S., and while Memphis International Airport didn’t see much action, the Mid-South community has had to adjust to the changes.

World Relief Memphis planned to resettle 325 refugees in Memphis this year. Because of Trump’s orders, the group said they will likely only get to resettle 150 of those refugees.

“Here is fear that their family won’t be able to come,” executive director PJ Moore said. “There is fear that people will react negatively toward them, and we want to come alongside these families and say, ‘We are glad you’re here.’”

Moore said refugees have been calling in with those concerns asking for advice and assistance.

World Relief Memphis has been resettling refugees since 2013, starting with 100. Last year, they resettled 278. The majority of these people are Congolese, which are unaffected by Trump’s ban.

World Relief Memphis also resettles Syrian, Somali, and Sudanese refugees–three of the seven Muslim-majority countries included in the president’s executive action, which prohibits refugees and citizens alike from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

“How it effects us right now with this new executive order is our funding is directly tied to the number of people that come,” Moore said. “So right now, the next four months, we’re actually not going to be receiving that funding.”

University of Memphis issued an email to its students, staff, and faculty advising them to refrain from international travel without consulting with an immigration attorney.

Rhodes College and Christian Brothers University both said they have no students affected by the ban at this time.

The University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University each sent notices to its students and staff on the issue as well.

Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in part:

“We recognize that for many in our community, there is significant anxiety, fear, and uncertainty related to recent Presidential Executive Orders. We are currently gathering information and evaluating the impact of the executive orders upon members of our university community. If you believe you are affected, or are uncertain about whether these orders affect you, please contact the Office of International Programs.”

MSU President Mark Keenum conveyed a similar message to his school’s 80 students affected by the ban. He said in part:

“MSU is taking appropriate steps to support and assist our international students, faculty, staff and researchers as these issues evolve. We expect more clarity to come as these issues are more fully considered. The MSU administration is closely monitoring these matters to see how our university community is impacted – and we will provide appropriate assistance for impacted MSU community members.”

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office weighed in on the policy, with Sheriff Bill Oldham stating that SCSO will continue to uphold whichever laws they need to:

“The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will continue to follow all applicable State and Federal laws.  Sheriff’s Office personnel do not check citizenship status until after the person is custody and then any questions are referred to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).”

This comes one day after Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland spoke out against the order, saying “Memphis is a welcoming city that values diversity and treats every single person equally—no matter what.”

Congressman Steve Cohen announced Monday that he will cosponsor legislation to stop President Trump’s executive order.

Read more at Immigration ban stalls Mid-Southerners’ international travel.