South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has eight students and two faculty members who could be affected by President Trump's immigration order, and the state's congressional delegation fully supported it Monday, with one reservation.
A spokesman for the school said five students are from Iran and one each from Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. Also, two faculty members are from the seven barred majority Muslim nations listed in the order, but he said he did not know which countries they are from.
Statewide, Paul Turman, vice president for academic affairs with the South Dakota Board of Regents, says officials have found four faculty members and 74 students who are affected at the six public universities.
He says they're being notified of the executive order and the "implications associated with it." Turman says there's a lot of uncertainty in higher education right now.
The universities are advising students and faculty from the countries included in the order that they may not be allowed to re-enter the United States if they leave, but there's confusion about how the order applies to certain groups, such as U.S. legal permanent residents.
In Washington, U.S. Sen. John Thune says the immigration order gives the nation a chance to fully assess the threats it is facing, though he criticized the way it was rolled out.
The third-ranking Senate Republican said the order's roll-out has created unnecessary confusion and that Americans deserve more clarity from Trump's administration. But Thune says the "very brief pause" would also allow a chance to strengthen the nation's vetting process.
"I strongly oppose any religious test, but I do support a security test," Thune said.
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, also a Republican, said she supports a temporary pause on refugees from "terrorist-held" areas.
Noem said that she shares Trump's concerns about America's ability to screen refugees and that her first priority is the safety of the American people.
Natalie Krings, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, said in a statement that until the administration is confident that it's able to process the high number of refugees expected with high certainty, "we should not be allowing this group of refugees into our country."
"Terrorists have shown they are willing to infiltrate countries posing as refugees," Rounds said. "We must make certain our top U.S. intelligence officials are satisfied that we have all the information needed to properly vet certain refugees to make sure they don't have ties to terrorism."
Immigration lawyers in South Dakota are hearing concerns from families who have resettled in the U.S. from now-banned countries. Taneeza Islam, a Muslim-American immigration lawyer in Sioux Falls, said she has spoken with clients who wonder when they'll be able to see family members overseas.