January 29, 2017

Dear Members of the Berkeley Community,

I write to inform you that Berkeley leadership is actively engaged with the UC Office of the President to comprehend the implications of President Trump’s executive order (EO) on immigration and determine all options available to protect the well being of every member of our community. Earlier today, the Office of UC President Janet Napolitano issued the following communication 

On Friday, President Trump issued an EO that     restricts entry into the United States for 90 days for individuals from seven countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Based on news reports, individuals with immigrant and non-immigrant visas and those with green cards who are originally from these countries are being denied entry into the United States. We continue to analyze the EO and its impact on our students, faculty, scholars, employees, and other community members. At this time, we recommend that UC community members from these seven countries who hold a visa to enter the United States or who are lawful permanent residents do not travel outside of the United States.

We will continue to monitor and analyze the impact of the EO and will issue additional guidance as soon as possible. Until then, if you are a visa holder or green card holder from one of these countries that is currently abroad, or you have any questions, please contact the International Studies Office on your campus.

Right now, it is paramount that the students, staff, and faculty affected by this EO find the support that they need. I have asked Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Na’ilah Nasir and Chief Campus Counsel Christopher Patti to co-lead our campus’s efforts to address the consequences of this EO. Practical information and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Berkeley International Office (BIO) website, including information on how to contact the BIO office or a BIO adviser should you have specific questions. For those who are struggling with the emotional and psychological dimensions of this unfolding situation, we urge you to seek campus resources for support as needed, including http://sa.berkeley.edu/dean/mentalhealth

Beyond the EO’s effect on the Berkeley community, there is a far larger story at play: our country itself is at an historic crossroads, in debate not simply over a particular immigration policy, but over the very ideals that define our nation. In this respect, I wholeheartedly agree with the statement of Association of American Universities President Mary Sue Coleman, regarding the impact of this EO on American higher education, and indeed on the standing of the United States in the world today:

We recognize the importance of a strong visa process to our nation's security. However, the administration's new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible. The order is stranding students who have been approved to study here and are trying to get back to campus, and threatens to disrupt the education and research of many others.

We also urge the Administration, as soon as possible, to make clear to the world that the United States continues to welcome the most talented individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship at our universities. It is vital to our economy and the national interest that we continue to attract the best students, scientists, engineers, and scholars. That is why we have worked closely with previous administrations, especially in the wake of 9/11, to ensure our visa system prevents entry by those who wish to harm us, while maintaining the inflow of talent that has contributed so much to our nation.

Other countries have set the goal of surpassing the United States as the global leader in higher education, research, and innovation. Allowing them to replace this country as the prime destination for the most talented students and researchers would cause irreparable damage, and help them to achieve their goal of global leadership.

I know many other questions are being raised by the actions emanating from Washington, DC. We are reviewing these actions and their impact on our campus and our community, and we will be communicating with the Berkeley community in the coming days and beyond with additional information and recommendations.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Dirks
Chancellor

 

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