Higher Ed Responds on Immigration Executive Order

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(February 3, 2017 – Jarret Cummings) EDUCAUSE supported the broader higher education community by joining a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security responding to the Trump Administration “travel ban” executive order. The order imposes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen – regardless of whether the individual involved has a valid visa; as initially implemented, the order also barred individuals from those countries that have legal permanent resident (“green card”) status, but the Administration has since “clarified” the implementation of the order to exclude green card holders from the ban. It also suspends any refugee resettlement to the U.S. for 120 days while blocking any Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely. (If you would like more information, USA Today provides a useful breakdown of the order and associated issues.)

The higher education community letter, sent by the American Council on Education with the support of 46 other associations including EDUCAUSE, highlights the significant value of international students and scholars to U.S. higher education and the nation as a whole. On that basis, it argues for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use its discretion to apply the order in ways that minimize negative impacts on affected faculty and students as well as their institutions. The letter also asks DHS to engage with the higher education community to develop a better understanding of the serious problems the order creates for U.S. higher education and how best to resolve them.

Jarret Cummings is the Director of Policy and Government Relations for EDUCAUSE.