Statement: Refugee Resettlement Program

Statement by Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO, Achieving the Dream

“As many colleges in our Achieving the Dream network work with thousands of their students, faculty, and staff who have been affected by the President’s Executive Order to deny entrance to America from specific countries, we state our commitment to those institutions and individuals to uphold our principle of providing access to a high-quality education in an inclusive environment. We believe strongly that an inclusive environment is the right of all individuals and imperative for the continued advancement of a strong democracy and workforce.

We have put together an EO Resource Page that includes tools and information that our college presidents and their leadership teams can use as they develop ways for responding in their local communities. They will need our help and the help of others to provide support and guidance as they help members of their communities who are affected. We will continue to add resources to this page as time goes on.

In addition to assisting colleges and their communities, we urge members of the U.S. Congress to stand up for the principles that have made our country the envy of the world for higher education and rescind this Executive Order.”

Executive Order Overview

The Executive Order signed by the U.S. President on January 27 suspends the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days, with certain exceptions; suspends the admission of Syrian refugees for an undefined period; and suspends entry of lawful permanent residents, refugees, and non-immigrants, such as visitors and students, from certain Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Somalia) for at least 90 days.

Currently, non-U.S. citizens from the seven countries above have been banned from traveling to the United States, hundreds of travelers have been detained, and many have had their visa interviews cancelled. Green card holders from these countries continue to be interrogated at ports of entry around the country. Several courts have issued injunctions against the executive order, but thus far, the executive branch has not complied with the courts.

Brief summary of the EO and related recommendations: 

  • International students and employees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen in immigrant status (green card) or any nonimmigrant status (e.g., F-1, H-1B, etc.), employees who are applicants for adjustment of status to permanent resident, and J-1 exchange visitors and their family members in nonimmigrant status should avoid leaving the United States until further notice. This includes travel to Canada, Mexico and other contiguous territories. For the time being, this includes not only individuals who arrived in the United States from one of the countries listed in the EO, but also individuals who were born in one of the listed countries and have become citizens of a country not on the list. The EO directs U.S. immigration officials to stop issuing visas and visa renewals at consular posts and to stop travelers at U.S. ports of entry even if they have unexpired visas and/or unexpired I-94 admission records. 
  • As issued, the EO has no direct impact on individuals who are currently in the United States and remain here.
  • While the EO does not expressly affect individuals from other countries in immigrant or any nonimmigrant status, please assess the situation more closely before making a decision to travel abroad as the climate at ports of entry has changed. 

Recommended Actions & Resources for College Presidents

  • Understand the demographics of your students
  • Use your campus network to advocate for affected students and international students
  • Write an opinion piece
  • Highlight stories of students and families in your community who are affected by the EO
  • Consider collaborating with organizations such as Association of Community College Trustees and American Association of Community Colleges to support DACA students in their communities
  • Gain an understanding of how your specific community might react if additional orders to ask the Secretary of Homeland Security to create a proposal to give state and local governments greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions.

Please see our EO Resources page for additional Resources

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