UNC system president says Trump travel ban has had consequences

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UNC System President Margaret Spellings

UNC System President Margaret Spellings spoke out to ABC11 Thursday about President Donald Trump's immigration orders.

Spellings said she's working on giving her input to the Trump administration on the impact for North Carolina universities.

"It certainly has had consequences and sent a chill through the institution as it relates to scientists and others that we hope to recruit here from around the world," Spellings said.

Spellings spoke to ABC11 after delivering the keynote address at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

Spellings said she hopes to help convince the Trump administration about the implications of the order, which bans immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days.

For now, this is what Spellings is telling students from affected countries:

"We have advised students really not to travel home until there's more clarity around this," Spellings said.

A UNC Chapel Hill faculty member is circulating an open letter asking UNC to pledge not to release students' immigration status. To that, Spellings says:

"With respect to student data we're going to comply with the law of this state and the federal government," she said. "But I think there is a balancing act between standing strong for principal but also working with policy makers to try to make changes and make our case."

Spellings said she's also keeping a close eye on DACA.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects some undocumented immigrants who came here as children from deportation. Spellings says there are 30,000 DACA-eligible students in North Carolina and some of them are studying at UNC schools.

There has been speculation the Trump administration could end DACA.

"In light of the executive order last week, there are concerns that the Trump administration may make some changes or repeal or rescind that particular provision," Spellings told those attending the annual meeting.

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