Washington, (January 30, 2017) — Late Friday, President Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. entry of thoroughly-vetted refugees and citizens of seven nations in the Middle East and Africa, undermining the nation’s long-held values and making America less safe. The following is a statement from Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
“This is simply inconceivable. The latest executive order, egregious enough in its aim to suspend the refugee program and to enact a blanket ban on visa approvals from these seven nations and Syrian refugees fleeing violence, has also caused enormous collateral damage in its implementation. Universities and colleges have already begun reporting cases of students and scholars stranded after traveling for reasons including studying abroad, attending conferences, and visiting sick or dying family members.
“This particular action took us away from policies, which in the past, have made our nation safe and strong. Thoughtful policies and not those that are capricious and unpredictable have kept our country growing and thriving economically and educationally. Moreover, this action overlooks the balance between the openness that makes us great with the security that keeps us safe. It ignores the careful and thorough vetting procedures that have been established to welcome those we want in our nation while keeping out those who intend us harm.
“The White House’s executive order to suspend refugee admissions and place a 90-day ban on individuals from certain countries, claims to be drafted with the goal of making America safe; however, there is no evidence that any of these actions will make America safer. In fact, they will actually undermine our future foreign relations. Perceived around the world as a thinly veiled attempt to target Muslim-majority countries, these new measures risk alienating friends and allies, particularly in this region where relationships are so vital.
“Hundreds of millions of travelers have safely entered and exited the United States over the years, benefiting our economy, our national security and our communities. President Trump has created a problem where one didn’t exist. True security lies in understanding the nature of threats and focusing on those who mean to cause us harm, not preventing an Iranian mother of a U.S. citizen child from returning home to America after visiting aging relatives.
“To the students, scholars, doctors, refugees, family members and others who wonder if the United States has lost its commitment to its core values as a nation of freedom, opportunity and welcome, let me unequivocally state that American citizens will not tolerate policies such as these that undermine our values and endanger our safety. We understand that America is part of the global community, and we will raise our voices with Congress, with the White House, with the media and in our communities to continue to adhere to the principles that have always made us strongest.”