University President Drew G. Faust. Helen Y. Wu
UPDATED: January 29, 2017 at 5:58 p.m.
University President Drew G. Faust called on “the administration, the Congress, and the courts” to reconsider an executive order blocking immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States in a sharp defense of the University’s “vital interests” Sunday.
In the email sent to Harvard affiliates, Faust outlined a number of resources the University will provide to affiliates affected by the order, which prevents immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days. The order, signed by President Donald Trump Friday, also bars all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. At least two Harvard affiliates have been barred from entering the United States since the order went into effect.
The University will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday in Science Center B to discuss the implications of the immigration order on international affiliates and promised to lobby lawmakers “to advocate approaches meant to sustain the international flow of students and scholars, and thereby safeguard a vital national interest.”
In a broad message detailing the importance of the University’s global reach, Faust affirmed the University’s commitment to its international affiliates and programs.
“Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants—from India, China, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, and Iran,” Faust wrote. “Benefiting from the talents and energy, the knowledge and ideas of people from nations around the globe is not just a vital interest of the University; it long has been, and it fully remains, a vital interest of our nation.”
She also wrote that she has begun a search for a Muslim chaplain, which student activists with the Harvard Islamic Society called for in a letter to Faust last week.
In her message Sunday, Faust also reiterated the University’s support for undocumented students, writing that Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinic had hired a full-time attorney dedicated to representing undocumented students and launched a website provided resources for those students. She also pledged to continue lobbying members of Congress to pass the BRIDGE Act, which would provide protections for undocumented students.