UC regents, campus community react to new immigration order

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The UC Office of the President released a statement Monday in response to the new travel restrictions signed into law by President Donald Trump’s executive order.

In the announcement, UCOP did note that the new policy is less restrictive than the prior executive order than banned entry from seven Muslim-majority countries signed by President Trump on Jan. 27. UCOP, however, still opposes any policy limiting travel between the United States and other countries because the impact will be detrimental to “advancing knowledge and international cooperation.”

The new executive order repeals the original one entirely and replaces it with one that modifies its terms. While the Jan. 27 order was signed into law immediately, this executive order will go into law March 16.

The new policy removes entry priority for refugees who claim that they are being discriminated against as religious minorities in their countries. It also removes the travel restriction between Iraq and the United States, leaving Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen within the jurisdiction of the restriction. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Iraq was left out of the updated legislation because of “commitments” from its government.

Citing Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ January letter regarding the original executive order restricting immigration, UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof indicated the campus stance on immigration restriction remains unchanged despite the policy modifications.

Mogulof added that the UC Berkeley administration supports the guidelines addressed in yesterday’s statement released by UCOP.

Campus community members have expressed their continued concerns about the travel limitation. ASUC Senator and second-year political science major Alaa Aissi shared her disapproval of the immigration policy because of its impact on travel and Syrian refugees.

“I believe that national security is critical; and I truly believe it is disheartening that it is coming at the dispense of individuals visiting their families, applying to jobs, or receiving their American passports,” Aissi said in an email. “This is against all American values. This is our opportunity to lend the most helpful hand, and instead, we are neglecting our humanitarian responsibilities.”

According to public policy professor Jack Glaser, barring people from entering the United States will not solve the national security problem, and this approach is an oversimplification of the issue. He added that the Trump administration should instead concentrate on alleviating domestic threats to our safety.

The university has advised students from the six affected countries to consult with their immigration counsel in order to address challenges they may face after March 16, 2017. The university also plans to continue analyzing the situation and releasing more guidelines for students and trainees.

Some have expressed their concerns that those who are exempt from the restrictions will not be comfortable entering the United States because of anxiety about whether or not their rights will be upheld.

“There’s no question that it’s going to make it harder for students from those countries to come here in the first place, if they’re not here already,” Glaser said. “The new order is supposed to exempt people who have visas and green cards … but my suspicion is that there are going to be a number of people who are not comfortable entering the United States from those countries.”

Contact Justin Sidhu and Ishira Shrivatsa at [email protected].