Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano
At the end of January, I shared how new immigration restrictions based on a presidential executive order might affect our campus. I have heard from many in our community about their continuing concerns. I am grateful for your outreach and appreciate the time individuals and groups have taken to strengthen our enduring commitment to our international community. I understand the hurt and anguish recent events have caused many members of our community. I say to those who may be directly impacted and to those who have reached out on behalf of their friends, their spouses, their coworkers, their students -- we are committed to standing with you.
What follows is a brief update on our campus efforts and what we know of the on-going legal process related to the immigration executive order.
As an institution, we have signed national letters sharing our concerns and reinforcing our vision for a national policy that both reflects inclusiveness and values diverse voices:
Last week, in response to the recent presidential executive orders, I established an immigration working group with a charge to address impacts, provide acute support and anticipate future potential needs of our international community. Representation on the taskforce includes:
- Faculty Affairs
- Graduate School
- Human Resources
- International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)
- Law School
- Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE)
- Research and Innovation Office (RIO)
- Strategic Relations
- Student Affairs
- Undergraduate Education
This working group is meeting weekly and coordinating our efforts to support our international community members.
Last week, Diana Salazar, the director of International Student & Scholar Services and a member of this working group, held several information-sharing sessions on campus that were well-attended by our international community members. I am thankful to the many students, faculty and staff who attended these sessions as well and have stepped forward to support our international community members through a variety of formal and informal support activities.
I have asked Diana to share an update on the current situation and how we can stay informed, and it appears below. I thank her team and our newly formed task force for their dedication to this issue and to our international community.
Philip P. DiStefano,
An update from International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)
- On Friday, Feb. 3, a judge in Washington state issued a temporary order blocking certain sections of the executive order signed on Jan. 27, including the 90-day ban on entry to the United States for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. However, the Trump administration is appealing the decision, which means the situation could change quickly and the ban may apply again. Therefore, ISSS continues to recommend that individuals from the seven countries do not depart the United States, as they may not be able to return for 90 days and possibly indefinitely.
- On Feb. 3, the White House released the official document that it sent to the highest officials in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) stating the Jan. 27 executive order does not apply to individuals who are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently updated its questions and answers page to indicate that the executive order and its restrictions do not apply to U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents.
- On Feb. 3, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published on its website that they will process applications for immigration benefits for individuals in the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This includes applications for benefits such as Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for Optional Practical Training for students on F-1 visas, H-1B non-immigrant status and permanent residency.
- The DOS recently informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association that at this time the DOS does not know of any official documents that the government is working on that would expand the travel ban and visa revocation to countries other than the seven countries already affected by the executive order. In other words, the DOS is stating at this time they do not know of any plans to expand the list of countries under the 90-day ban.
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has published on their website questions and answers that state a dual national (someone who is a citizen/national of one of the seven countries, but also a citizen of another country) will be treated based on the passport that s/he presents for admission into the United States. For example, if a student is a citizen of France and also a citizen of Syria, if s/he presents the French passport with a valid F-1 visa stamp, the CBP has stated that they will admit the student into the United States. If you are a dual national from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, you should read the CBP websites carefully and may wish to consult with an immigration attorney.
International Student & Scholar Services is here to support our international community and we will share information as soon as we can verify it. Please contact ISSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in during our advising hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, for questions and assistance, or if you just want to talk.