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President's Statement on Revised Executive Order on Travel to the United States

March 15, 2017

Middlebury President Laurie Patton sent the following statement in an email to the campus community on March 13, 2017.

On March 6, President Trump signed a new revised executive order placing restrictions on entry into the United States by foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen for the next 90 days. The order is scheduled to go into effect March 16. 

This order supplants the January 27 executive order that was successfully challenged in Federal courts.

Unlike the initial ban, citizens of Iraq are not included in the restricted group. As well, this new order will not impact any green card holders (permanent residents of the U.S.), valid visa holders, dual nationals who travel on a passport issued by an unrestricted country, and those already in the U.S.

But while this new executive order narrows the scope of the travel restrictions and will impact fewer people, it is still deeply troubling.

Many legal scholars and national security experts have noted over the past week that the new executive order looks much like its predecessor in that it singles out Muslim-majority countries. Targeting nations or individuals because of their religion stands in direct opposition to our institutional values, including the free exchange of ideas, the principles of open discourse, and the importance of bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs to study, teach, and work in a free and open society. 

As I said in my February 1 statement opposing the first executive order: “We do not, as a matter of policy and principle, discriminate by citizenship, nationality, or religion when accepting students for admission or faculty and staff for hiring.”

Recent surveys indicate that many US colleges and universities experienced a drop in applications from international students this year—particularly from the Middle East. This is a troubling sign in a world where greater global engagement should be a priority. This new executive order only threatens to further alienate students from around the world who for so long have sought to pursue their learning and life goals in the United States of America. 

As I have stated in the past, the Middlebury community will stand up for and work to support any students, faculty, or staff who are impacted by the travel restrictions, and we will continue to make our vigorous opposition to this executive order known through our federal, state, and local elected representatives.

Laurie Patton