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Md. universities, businesses, hospitals negotiate Trump’s travel ban

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels. (file)

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels. (file)

Universities, businesses and hospitals in Maryland all continue to wrestle with the ramifications of President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on accepting refugees and visitors from several majority-Muslim nations.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order intended to prevent travelers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia from entering the country for 90 days. The order also placed a freeze on accepting refugees for 120 days and stirred a series of protests at airports throughout the nation during the weekend.

But as the workweek started entities throughout the state tried to piece together what impact the order had on employees, students and patients.

Universities in Maryland pledged to abide by the nation’s laws, but expressed support for international students, faculty and staff.

No students or affiliates of Johns Hopkins University were detained, to the school’s knowledge, according to a spokesman.

University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar sent an email to students, faculty and staff explaining the school continues to monitor the actions taken by the Trump administration. They also acknowledge some individuals invited to the university in the next 90 days may be affected by the travel ban. Kumar and Daniels also expressed support for a statement released by the Association of American Universities calling for a quick end to the ban.

“Johns Hopkins University is unequivocally committed to supporting students, faculty, and staff affected by the executive order. These members of our university community are important to our academic family and to our mission of education, discovery, and service,” Daniels and Kumar wrote in the email.

Towson University issued a statement from President Kim Schatzel stressing the school follows University System of Maryland guidance on the executive order. But the message also included words of support for the hundreds of international students and faculty members from more than 80 countries at Towson.

“While Towson University fully complies with all federal requirements and laws, the university remains committed to fostering an environment where all our students — regardless of their immigration status, race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and levels of ableness — can thrive, flourish, and realize their fullest potential,” Schatzel’s statement reads.

At least one local hospital continues to scramble to help patients potentially impacted by the ban.

Audrey Huang, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the executive order affects 11 patients planning to come in the next two months. The order arrived so suddenly, she said, that it’s unknown what the hospital can do to help those patients.

“There is some concern that they will not be able to get here (for treatment),” Huang said.

Currently, two doctoral candidates are struggling to re-enter the country, she said, and Johns Hopkins Medicine anticipates Match Day on March 17, where soon-to-be graduates find out where they are placed for residency, to be impacted.

Despite concerns about the impact of the travel ban, the number of Maryland residents potentially impacted remains relatively small.

There are about 890,439 foreign-born residents in Maryland, according to the Migration Policy Institute, using 2014 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Those residents make up nearly 15 percent of the Maryland’s population. The organization defines foreign-born as people living in the state not citizens at birth. That includes naturalized citizens, green-card holders, refugees and non-immigrants in the country with temporary visas.

Only 14,331 of Maryland’s foreign born residents come from Western Asia, which includes Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Even fewer foreign born immigrants, 5,492 residents, originated from Northern Africa, which includes Sudan and Libya.

National companies doing business in Maryland criticized the travel and refugee ban and took actions to show support for refugees and immigrants.

Ride-sharing company Uber, which according to the company has contracted with about 30,000 Maryland residents in the past five years, criticized the executive orders. The company, which didn’t have information available about the number of drivers in the state impacted, pledged to help those affected by the ban.

Uber committed to providing 24/7 legal support to drivers trying to get back in the country, compensation for lost earnings and creation of a $3 million legal defense fund.

“Uber is a community. We’re here to support each other. Please help Uber to help drivers who may be affected by this wrong and unjust immigration ban,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in a message posted to the company’s website.

Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks, which has locations throughout Maryland, plans to hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who backed Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, announced plans to provide refugees jobs in a message sent to employees on Sunday.

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