As most people know, late on Friday afternoon President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The Executive Order was almost immediately put into force by Customs and Border Protection personnel. On the basis of this order, persons from seven named countries – Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria – were denied entry into the US, even if they had been qualified for entry as refugees, and/or possessed valid visas or even possibly permanent residency status (green cards). Faculty members, scholars, doctors, and students from several US universities have been barred from entering or re-entering the US.
It is likely that many of you are following events as closely as we in the University of Kentucky International Center are. As of now, the situation remains confusing, as four federal judges in different jurisdictions have issued rulings halting some parts of the order. Also, it is not clear that US Customs and Border Protection personnel have been applying the order uniformly. In any case, the situation has been, and continues to be, extremely distressing – especially for our students and scholars from the seven named countries, and for their families.
At the University of Kentucky International Center we understand that our first responsibility is to support our fellow students and colleagues. We take their fears and worries seriously, and understand that these times call us to be allies to those who are vulnerable. The University of Kentucky International Center will continue to provide accurate information to the students and scholars who look to us for advice and reassurance. And we will continue to be a resource for the wider campus community regarding the situation facing our international students and scholars.
Faculty, scholars, staff, and students affected by this executive order and seeking advice and support can be referred to our offices in Bradley Hall. In addition, the Counseling Center is ready to assist as appropriate. Faculty and others who wish to know how they may respond to and support their international colleagues and students should understand that it is our everyday actions, and our gestures of concern, respect, and collegiality that make the promises of inclusion and belonging real.
At the International Center we will stand with our international students and colleagues, and we will uphold the values of inclusion and belonging that make the University of Kentucky strong.