Update: Yale’s Response to Executive Order on Immigration

January 29, 2017

To the Yale Community,

In the hours since Provost Polak, Vice President Goff-Crews, and I wrote to you yesterday evening, we have continued to work closely here on campus, and with colleagues at other U.S. universities, in response to the executive order signed by President Trump on Friday. As you are no doubt aware, the order provides the following:

  • For the next ninety days it blocks entry into the United States by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen;
  • For the next ninety days it appears to bar individuals with valid visas and even green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States unless exemptions are granted;
  • For the next 120 days it suspends entry of all refugees to the United States; and
  • It bars Syrian refugees indefinitely.

We are alarmed by this executive order. Together with many others in and beyond the Yale community, we question the motivation underlying it and recognize that it departs from long-standing policies and practices in our country. All of us are worried for colleagues, friends, and family members who may be affected by these and other changes in immigration laws.

American institutions of higher learning are united in their distress on behalf of our international students and faculty, and in their reliance on our communities’ most fundamental values of accessibility and open dialogue. Our educational mission and the welfare of our community members are directly at stake. National security is of the utmost importance, but we are steadfast in asserting that this goal can be achieved while maintaining respect for core academic—and American—values. This is why Yale joins with the Association of American Universities (AAU) in urging that “the administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries…should end as quickly as possible.” We support the AAU’s call for the United States to continue “to welcome the most talented individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship at our universities.”

Our Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS), in consultation with legal counsel, has recommended that Yale students and scholars from the designated countries (including dual nationals and U.S. permanent residents) suspend plans for international travel without first consulting OISS or an immigration attorney. Staff in OISS have reached out to Yale students and scholars from the seven countries affected. The office will also be hosting open meetings for the Yale community on Wednesday, February 1, and Thursday, February 2, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. More information is on the OISS website and will continue to be updated regularly. I know that a number of the deans also have reached out to their students and faculty, and that several gatherings of support are planned for this evening. I am grateful to see the many ways that our university community is coming together in response to this assault on our values.

Our campus includes more than 5,000 international students and scholars from 118 countries; they are part of the very lifeblood of this university. I reiterate here our commitment to the safety, well-being, and vital place at Yale of these international scholars and students, the members of our Muslim community more generally, and others who may be affected by Friday’s executive order. Not only do immigrant and international students and scholars contribute to our university, they contribute tremendously to our nation. Those who choose to stay bring new ideas, skills, energy, and cultures. Those who choose to return home foster goodwill toward the United States abroad. Today, we at Yale join our voices with all those who are calling for swift reversal of these measures that undermine our university’s—and our nation’s—core values.


Peter Salovey
President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology