Photo: Stephen Archibald

NSCAD University will be among a group of Canadian art schools accepting international students slated to go to U.S. schools now left stranded by President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

The immigration order bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspends refugee admissions for four months, and puts a 90-day block on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the States.

“In short, NSCAD like other Canadian universities of art and design, will accept and welcome students affected by this policy,” university’s spokesperson Marilyn Smulders said in an e-mail.

The Halifax school is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design, a consortium of 42 such institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

“AICAD has had a multi-decade exchange program in place among its member institutions that in this dark hour will help to mitigate the impacts on affected students planning to study at U.S. institutions,” Deborah Obalil, the association’s president, said in a written response to Trump’s executive order on immigration.

“All Canadian member institutions of AICAD will accept any international students who planned to study at a U.S. member institution, and all credits will be fully transferable to any other AICAD member institution.”

Trump kicked off the executive order with talk of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, “when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.”

He didn’t say why Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, which collectively produced 18 of the 19 men who carried out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, were not on the list of countries whose citizens are now prevented from traveling to the U.S.

“Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States,” read Trump’s order.

“The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.”

The order has prompted confusion and clogged airports, both in the U.S. and overseas, large protests, as well condemnation from a wide swathe of diplomats and the former president, Barack Obama.

Students, as well as green card holders and visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, have been unable to get into the U.S., turned away or detained at the border.

The art school association “stands with our colleagues across higher education in both countries in advocating against the executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017, that limits entry to the United States by citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations,” Obalil wrote.

“AICAD member institutions are firmly committed to supporting diversity among their students, faculty and staff, welcoming individuals of all ethnicities and religious affiliations from across the globe.”

The association has a “long-time commitment to international exchange and partnerships, and will not allow this discriminatory action to change that tradition,” she wrote.

“We stand united against policies that are counter to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and the global sharing of knowledge that are core to the educational missions of all our members.”

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