GRO Statement: Executive Order on Visas and Immigration

GRO Statement: Executive Order on Visas and Immigration

On January 27, 2017, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the President of the United States signed an executive order temporarily banning people from seven countries and all refugees from entering the United States. The GRO fully and emphatically condemns this executive order. Thousands of refugees, legal immigrants, and non-immigrants have not been able to come to the United States. Countless others have been forced to avoid traveling outside the United States, held hostage by the fact that they may not be able to reenter. These are people with valid documentation, including green card holders. Entering the United States as an immigrant or refugee is not an easy task and usually has to be prepared months, sometimes even more than a year, ahead.

For graduate students and other academics from the seven countries, the executive order has professional as well as personal consequences. Some of these professional restrictions are practical – academia relies on international exchange, and international travel is required for nearly all of us. Others are less direct – it is unreasonable to expect a person living under a government that treats them with open hostility to put their concern for their well-being aside and focus on their academic goals. The executive order and its plausible successors may also mean that we cannot receive any new graduate students from the affected nations, limiting the educational choices of these potential students and impoverishing our community.

President Daniels has made a clear statement that “the order stands in unambiguous opposition to our country’s long-cherished values and ideas” and that the “human impact of such an assault on these core values was immediate, including at Johns Hopkins” (http://hub.jhu.edu/2017/02/01/daniels-immigration-order-message/).

We are thankful for such clear words and we endorse President Daniels’s message.

The GRO’s purpose is to advocate for graduate students and we have taken a stand against this discriminatory act. Last week, we participated in the NAGPS action day and on Monday, we decided to support this rally. We do what the graduate student body asks for, so if you have ideas, please let the GRO General Council and Executive Board know. Apart from supporting and starting actions, we can help fellow graduate students navigate difficult situations. Although we cannot provide legal advice, we can direct you to resources and connect you with people on campus who specialize on particular questions and problems.

As the GRO, we condemn the executive order and any form of discrimination against refugees, visa holders, and visitors of the United States.

If you are affected by the executive order: you are welcome at JHU and we are proud that you are part of our community.

The GRO