Dear Commons Community,
The headlines all over the globe are pointing to the disruption caused by President Donald Trump’s executive order issued Friday effectively closing the United States to refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order bars entry to refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days and from Syria indefinitely. It blocks any visitors for 90 days from seven designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Critics at home and abroad see the president’s order as a retreat from traditional American values. World leaders denounced the order, and several Republican lawmakers called on Mr. Trump to back down.
At our colleges and universities, there is great concern over the plight of international scholars and students. As The Chronicle of Higher Education describes in this morning’s edition:
“Stay calm, you’re safe here.” That’s the message American colleges have been trying to send to international students in the wake of the executive order, signed Friday night by President Trump, that imposes a travel ban on visitors — including students and other people with valid visas and …..that they can continue their studies uninterrupted. In the meantime, officials advised students not to travel abroad during the 90-day ban.
But the soothing words belie deeper concerns. Since the presidential election, educators had been bracing for a “Trump effect” on international students. In a survey of prospective foreign students released last spring, when few gave the Republican businessman strong odds of winning the presidency, 60 percent said they would be less likely to study in the United States under a President Trump.
“We were expecting something to happen,” says Ronald B. Cushing, director of international services at the University of Cincinnati, “but not this flurry and not in the very first week.”
Here at the CUNY Graduate Center, one Iranian student was denied re-entry backed to the United States after visiting her parents over the winter break.