LINCOLN PARK — DePaul University is urging students from seven Muslim nations targeted in an executive order last week to stay home — here in the United States.
Citing the "confusion" caused last weekend by President Donald Trump's executive order limiting citizens from seven Muslim nations from entering the United States, university President the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider offered legal counseling to students in a letter sent out Monday evening.
"I want the DePaul community to understand that there should be no confusion about where we stand," Holtschneider's letter stated.
"Students, faculty and staff members from the affected countries have made DePaul their home away from home — and we fully intend for that to continue," he said.
"People from all countries and of all religions are welcome at DePaul. As such, we will take every action within the law to protect everyone within our community, including Muslim students, faculty and staff in the United States and from other countries, just as we remain unwavering in our support of undocumented students during these uncertain times.
"We fully endorse the words of Pope Francis shared yesterday in a statement by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich: 'The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.'"
The University of Illinois, Northwestern and Notre Dame all urged students from the seven affected nations this week to defer travel "until there is fuller assessment" on the impact of Trump's executive order.
That uncertainty was a large part of the criticism implicit in Holtschneider's letter to the DePaul community.
Holtschneider said the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration issued last week "indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, from entering the United States for 90 days."
According to Holtschneider, "Confusion mounted over the weekend as travelers seeking entry were detained at airports across the country." Attempts to clarify the law, he said, were largely unsuccessful given shifting court rulings and the administration's own internal conflicts, with Trump firing acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night.
Holtschneider said it "appears" that the order might not apply to green-card holders who are citizens of the seven named countries, but it was best to be wary of travel in any case.
The university offered legal advice through Student Legal Services and its Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, and other forms of counseling through its International Student & Scholar Services, Counseling Services and University Ministry.