Penn State president shares message following executive order on immigration

Eric J. Barron, president of Penn State. Credit: Michelle Bixby / Penn StateCreative Commons

Members of the Penn State Community:

President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that, among other impacts, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, and blocked entry to the U.S. for at least 90 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The order also suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of these countries, the number of which could grow.

Reports suggest that enforcement of the executive order is already stranding students and affecting U.S. institutions of higher education. We are monitoring developments closely to ensure that we fully understand how this executive order and any future orders may affect Penn State, including the implications for our many students, researchers and faculty who are citizens of other countries.

Fortunately, to the best of our knowledge, none of our students or scholars who are from the named countries are currently traveling abroad. But the problems that are surfacing with the order are clear, and we join the Association of American Universities and universities all across the country in asking that the order be ended as soon as possible. You can access the AAU statement here:

Please know that the University fully supports all members of our academic community. We remain committed to respecting and honoring the dignity of each individual, embracing civil discourse, and fostering a diverse and inclusive community. We recognize and believe strongly that the diversity of faculty, staff and students enriches all of us and enables our mission of research, teaching, service and economic development. 

The best part of Penn State is our people — no matter what country they may call home. We support all of you.

We are sharing this message broadly because these recent developments affect not only our international students and faculty, but also every one of us. If a friend or colleague reaches out to you for information or support, you should be aware of what is happening and how your University is addressing issues and challenges as they arise.

Based on the content of Friday’s executive order and expert guidance regarding its implications, we have two explicit recommendations for our international students, faculty and scholars:

1. Whenever you are traveling within the United States, please make sure that you carry with you any immigration documents that prove your legal status.

2. Because the order prevents citizens of seven countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, and because that list of affected countries could grow in number, we urge any non-U.S. citizens and their families to the extent possible to refrain from traveling outside the United States until greater clarity is apparent.

Penn State will provide updated information and specific guidance as it becomes available.

If you have questions or concerns regarding these or related issues, contact Penn State’s Office of Global Programs.

Eric J. Barron
Penn State President

Last Updated June 21, 2018