February 1, 2017
Communication from Chancellor Groves regarding the Executive Order on Immigration issued Friday, January 27, 2017
Dear Antioch Community:
As you know, on Friday, January 27, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that bars all foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, and indefinitely halts immigration of all refugees fleeing the brutal civil war in Syria. It also gives Christians fleeing persecution priority over Muslims, inserting a religious test into our refugee program decisions.
Antioch University has a number of students who are from the countries identified in the Executive Order. Those countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. While the order contains a few exceptions for those traveling on diplomatic visas, the list of exceptions does not include those traveling on temporary visas such as student H-1B visas or F-1 and J-1 visas. In fact, even travelers with permanent resident status (green cards) were detained at airports over the past weekend, and the order may apply to those with dual citizenship (citizenship in a listed country and another non-US country).
At least four federal courts have issued temporary injunctions enjoining enforcement of much of the Executive Order. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, was stopped from deporting travelers holding green cards or proper visas. Nonetheless, this sudden change in immigration policy has substantially disrupted operations for many American universities and foreign travelers. As a result, we offer the following specific guidance:
1. Students, scholars, faculty and others who might be affected by the order are strongly advised to defer any travel plans outside of the United States until there is further clarity of the impact of the order; this includes travel by car to neighboring countries such as Canada or Mexico.
2. If you must travel, we urge you to first consult with legal counsel. If you have family who were intending to travel to the United States to visit, they will need similar legal advice from an immigration lawyer. The fact that you have lawfully been issued a U.S. visa, or even a green card, may not be sufficient to ensure entry or re-entry into the United States.
3. I have asked our University Counsel, Rebecca Todd, to prepare a list of immigration lawyers in each of our communities. Some may be among the hundreds of lawyers that volunteered to provide pro-bono services to stranded travelers over the weekend. Please contact our Office of University Counsel at 603-283-2436 for this contact information.
I would like to emphasize that Antioch University supports all of our students, faculty, and employees who are foreign nationals. The University has a long history of being a leader in fostering a diverse and rich educational environment. Even prior to the Civil War, Antioch was one of the first American colleges to enroll African-American students to learn side-by-side with white students. It was one of the first colleges to employ female faculty at the same rank and salary as male counterparts. And we have admitted international students throughout our history. Our educational mission has always been focused on fostering social, economic and environmental justice and for protecting and promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of race, religion, gender, color, ancestry, national origin or other immutable characteristics. It was not chance or stroke of serendipity that led Coretta Scott King to Antioch. It was Antioch’s reputation as champions for human rights that caught her attention.