RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - International students at VCU and University of Richmond are expressing those concerns following President Donald Trump's ban on refugees of certain countries.
Some students tell NBC12 they're afraid to travel because they fear not being allowed back into the U.S.
Leaders at VCU and University of Richmond say they will support the international student population who are expressing major concerns right now. Trump's executive order prompted VCU's president, Michael Rao, to issue a statement over the weekend saying the school is calling "for continued protections and access for our students affected by the DACA program, and the university is working broadly to examine how we can support our community members affected by this new executive order."
Staff at VCU who work with international students from those countries on the list are being told to avoid non-essential travel for right now. They want to wait and see how this executive order and any actions taken against it will play out.
Confusion over President Trump's travel ban has some local international students worried.
"Of course I'm going to be worried, because I'm also Muslim," says Noble Chowdhury, a VCU student. "I have to be worried for my Muslim brothers and sisters.
VCU student Badrea Ali is a permanent U.S. resident from Sudan and this affects her personally.
"I came here with my family, so my family and I were vetted by the U.S. government," she said.
While she passed all the criteria, the travel ban changes her plans for now.
"I'm not a citizen, so if I leave the county I can't come back," she said. "I was actually planning to go this summer. Now I can't go because I don't want to risk it."
There are about 1,600 international students at VCU and administrators say more than a hundred are from one of the seven affected countries, which are all predominantly Muslim. The University of Richmond's president says 1 in 10 of their students are international students.
VCU students who are U.S. citizens are also concerned.
"My mother is from Iran, so I have a lot of family over there still," says Cameron Thomas, a senior at VCU. "It's kind of hard to believe someone could actually do that, but at the same time, I think they have a lot of faith in the United States to do what's right and not succumb to fear like that."
At VCU, faculty at the Office of Global Education are making sure affected international students have access to resources. Here's what they are telling international students right now:
"First and foremost, to remain calm as best they can, and we'll wait and see what the next few days brings," said R. McKenna Brown, senior international officer at VCU at the office of Global Education. "We're urging students from any of the listed countries to avoid non essential travel for the immediate time being until the situation clarifies some."
The general counsel for both universities is also following the situation closely and say they're making sure affected international students have the resources necessary to stay informed.
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