NAFSA Opposes Latest Ban on Immigrants


Statement by Jill Welch, Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy of NAFSA


Rebecca Morgan, 202.737.3699 x4449,

Washington, September 25, 2017 — On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation designating eight countries for partial or full restrictions on entry to the United States. The following is a statement from Jill Welch, Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators:

“This latest proclamation, which issues a blanket ban on immigrants from all but one of the eight countries named, continues to undermine our nation’s long-held values and make America less safe. By once again focusing on entire nations, rather than specific individuals who pose real threats, the ban alienates current and potential allies. For example, the ban unnecessarily bars immigrants from seven countries who would seek to join their families here in the United States.

“While the proclamation adopts a “more tailored approach” to nonimmigrants and appears to recognize the value of educational exchange, questions remain about how the ban will be implemented. For example, researchers from Chad, Libya and Yemen may no longer be able to attend a U.S. conference, and other nonimmigrant travelers from the additional countries named will be subjected to yet further enhanced screening and vetting. Such an approach only helps fuel the ongoing uncertainty felt by students, scholars and other travelers from across the world since the first travel ban took effect in January. Again, true security lies in understanding the nature of specific threats and focusing on individuals who mean to cause us harm—not in preventing entire nationalities from entering the United States. The newest version of the ban leaves no reliable path for legitimate travel to the United States from these eight countries, such as Syrian parents hoping to be reunited with their U.S. citizen children, an Iranian educator who wants to attend a conference in the United States or parents of students from any of the six countries who are unable to secure a B visa to come visit for graduation or other major events. The section of the proclamation addressing potential waivers, while welcomed, provides little comfort to those who must face the uncertain hurdle of convincing a consular officer of the legitimacy of their intended activity.

“While it may be tempting to think that preventing such legitimate travel is just collateral damage in keeping the nation safe, it is important to remember the unwelcoming message these bans send to groups of people around the world who wonder if their nation may be next on the list.”