Response to the Executive Order on Immigration
January 29, 2017
Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:
On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order blocking entry to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Subsequently, multiple judges issued temporary stays. The president’s executive order, which is counter to Smith’s educational mission and community values, has added to a climate of uncertainty and fear for international students, staff and faculty as well as undocumented students. For this reason, we have taken a number of concrete steps to support all members of our community.
- Caitlin Szymkowicz, associate dean for international students, has reached out to our international students and scholars from affected nations to offer support and connect them to immigration-related resources. Any student affected by the new executive order can speak with her for guidance on visa status.
- Rebecca Hovey, dean for international study, is monitoring developments to ensure the continued safety and support of Smith students studying abroad or making plans for off-campus study.
- Bill Peterson, associate provost, is serving as a point of contact for faculty with questions about immigration-related resources.
- Attorneys from Curran & Berger Immigration Law will offer an information session 5–6:30 p.m. Monday, January 30, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall for students, faculty and staff, on the current status of U.S. immigration law and policy. All are welcome.
We are advising students, faculty and staff from the countries cited in the executive order, including those who are dual citizens or have green cards, not to travel outside of the U.S. Students are permitted to stay in the houses over spring break, and we will make arrangements for any affected international student who wishes to remain in the U.S. over the summer.
We are proud of Smith’s diverse, global community, curriculum and tradition of international engagement. We are committed to supporting every member of our community, irrespective of nationality, religion or immigration status.
In addition, one of the most important actions Americans can take, regardless of political affiliation, is to contact elected representatives in Congress (Senate, House of Representatives) to make our views known. One example of such activism would be to urge legislators to support the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy or BRIDGE Act, a bipartisan bill recently introduced by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). If passed, the BRIDGE Act would extend protections to DACA students if that program is abolished.
We will continue to actively monitor this rapidly evolving situation and keep the community informed. Now is a time to support one another and to act in accordance with our consciences, which will guide us toward right and meaningful actions. Together we will find community, strength and the means to make our voices heard.