IGE Statement Regarding Executive Order Travel Ban
In response to the Executive Order signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) of Western Washington University joins many higher education institutions around the country in expressing its concern about how its international populations may be impacted. The order, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, temporarily suspends entry into the US by immigrants and non-immigrants from 7 countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Western’s international student population does not currently include student visa holders from any of those countries; however, IGE does not have information regarding students, faculty, or staff holding other statuses who may be impacted by this Executive Order.
In accordance with our core belief in inclusion and diversity, IGE and Western are committed to maintaining a welcoming environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors from around the world. An open exchange of people and ideas is at the heart of the excellent teaching, learning, scholarship, and creative endeavors which define us as a university.
IGE is in contact with international education professional organizations including NAFSA, AASCU, AIEA, and AAU to follow best practice in response to this Executive Order. The International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) office is also monitoring developments related to this Executive Order.
To quote Western President Sabah Randhawa, “Western has had many international students and faculty in the past and continues to do so today. We strongly support our international students, faculty, staff and visitors; we benefit from their presence and the richness they bring to our community. We hope that the administration will more thoughtfully address the security concerns that it is attempting to approach through this executive order. We will continue to monitor developments and work with the higher education community to bring our concerns to the attention of the administration.”
- It is important to remember that it is not yet clear how this and other Executive Orders will actually be implemented. IGE and ISSS will continue to monitor this situation and update the University community as we learn more. Concerned individuals should watch for these communications and read them carefully.
- Students, scholars, faculty, and staff who are citizens ("nationals") of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (including those with dual citizenship of another non-U.S. country), should understand that leaving the United States, even in an emergency, means they will not be able to return during the aforementioned 90-day period, and possibly longer.
- International students and scholars who are citizens of other countries, and who travel outside the U.S., should expect increased visa delays and will face the risk that entry rules may change while they are travelling. International students and scholars should speak with an adviser in ISSS to renew a visa or if they have specific questions pertaining to travel.
- As always, concerned individuals should continue to maintain their immigration status and to follow advice from ISSS.
- Other individuals in the Western community who feel they may be impacted may consider consulting other campus and community resources, including: American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), WWU Office of Student Life, and Caring for the Western Community.
IGE and the university remain committed to ensuring the well-being, safety, and success of international students and scholars at Western. To that end, ISSS will provide international students and scholars with the information and resources needed to prepare for changes in the visa application process and other immigration policies and procedures. During this challenging and uncertain time, Western stands with its international populations.