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ISSO News, February 2019

ISSO News, January 2019 

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DOS on Revisions to Travel Ban (Presidential Proclamation 9645, Apr. 10, 2018)

State Department, Apr. 10, 2018 - Revisions to Presidential Proclamation 9645

"On April 10, a new Presidential Proclamation (P.P.) was issued which amended P.P. 9645 of September 24, 2017.  The new P.P. removes the visa restrictions imposed on nationals of Chad by the earlier P.P.  This change will be effective at 12:01a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on Friday, April 13, 2018.  All other visa restrictions outlined in P.P. 9645 remain in effect.

Regarding Executive Order 13769
We were pleased to see so many members of our community at the panel discussion on Executive Order 13769 restricting travel and access to USCIS benefits for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  
Please note, during the discussion on Wednesday night, additional countries were brought up as being expected to join the list of original 7 countries. The source has since been deemed unsubstantiated.  At this point in time, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen are the only countries identified by an EO as being subject to travel restrictions and provisional visa revocation.
Please click here for more information, including access to the slides from the event: Discussion on US Immigration Policy/ Executive Order 13769.
As always, the ISSO is here to help.  Please visit our office, call, or send us an email with any concerns you may have regarding immigration status in the United States.  We will either answer your questions, or in the case of individuals not sponsored on a visa through Brandeis, put you in touch with experts who are ready to help. 
Xinyue Wang ’18: Brandeis was her gateway to a love for learning

Click here for the full article. 

Ever since a trip to California when she was 13, Xinyue “Cynthia” Wang ’18 knew she wanted to attend college in the U.S.

The Tianjin, China native was struck by the beautiful scenery on the west coast and was impressed by the kindness of the American people. Wang followed through on her desire to study in the U.S., and applied to Brandeis at the recommendation of a friend and after learning more about the university’s academics and social life.

Her undergraduate career nearly complete, the economics and computer science double-major says she has hardly experienced homesickness thanks to the warm welcome she felt once she arrived on campus.

Wang participated in the Gateway Scholars program, which exposes non-native English speakers to the reading, writing and critical thinking skills they need to become successful students at Brandeis.

Today, she is headed to graduate school to study data science and hopes to analyze financial markets in the future.

When did you know Brandeis University was the right fit?

I had a friend who recommended Brandeis to me when I was applying for schools and she was a first year at the time. Learning about her experience was very important to me because coming to Brandeis was my first time leaving home. But when I arrived on campus it felt like the right place.

Brandeis has excellent people, great professors and great students. I think the university is like a home for me. It’s a very warm community. The professors here encourage me to do things I never could have imagined doing before. For example, the way the computer science faculty have taught me to apply the skills I’ve learned in a way that motivates me for what’s ahead.

What’s been your favorite class?

All my courses with Professor Tim Hickey have been great. He’s the person that got me into computer science in the first place; he was even the professor for my first computer science course at Brandeis. He doesn’t just teach us new things – he teaches us how to love what we learn. During his courses you learn practical skills, beyond what’s in the textbook. It makes you more interested in the topic.

What do you nerd out about?

I am in the Brandeis Traditional Music Club and I enjoy listening to and playing music there from all over the world with my friends. With my friends, we also go to the gym to work out. The Gosman Sports and Convocation Center has a lot of options. We like to lift weights, do the workout classes, and sometimes even play tennis.

What do you enjoy doing in Waltham?

Waltham has many good restaurants. I like going there with my friends when we get off campus. One place, Lizzy’s, has very good ice-cream. Actually, I still remember, right when I arrived on campus as a first-year, my orientation leader recommended Lizzy’s.

I had a great time the first time I went. I like their ginger flavor, which I had never tried before.

Who has been a mentor to you?

Vinodini Murugusan, the director of Gateway Programs. She really cares about students, it’s almost as if we’re her own family. As a Gateway Scholar, I can feel how much she cares. If I had to pick one moment when I felt Brandeis was home, it would be when I arrived on campus as a Gateway Scholar. This place just felt like it was my new home.

Yujie Jiang ’17 is in perfect chemistry with Brandeis

Click here for full article.

Though Mandarin Chinese is her first language, she has excellent command of English and speaks with great fluidity. She credits the Brandeis Gateway Scholars Program—which is designed to give non-native speakers of English critical thinking, analytical writing, and academic oral communication skills—for helping her along the way.

She now pays forward her appreciation for being a Gateway Scholar by serving as one of the program’s lead mentors. She’s also a Gateway liaison for the Brandeis Health Center and has taken on a role with the International Student Experience Project (inSTEP), a newly created Brandeis organization that promotes greater inclusion of international students into the overall campus community.

Jiang says her role is to encourage international students to branch out, take chances, and get to know their new surroundings. She reminds incoming international students that Brandeis is a place of endless possibilities thanks, in large part, to its welcoming community.

“There’s no reason for a student who comes to Brandeis from abroad to be fearful,” Jiang says. “I would say, based on the conversations I’ve had with students and faculty here, that anyone can see how welcoming and friendly we are at Brandeis, especially with the international community on campus.”

Brandeis joins other universities in opposing travel ban, supporting affected students and faculty

Brandeis has joined seven other Boston-area universities in filing a friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal judge to extend an order barring enforcement of a travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The brief filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on Feb. 3 supported efforts by the American Civil Liberties Union and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to extend a temporary injunction against the ban, issued on Jan. 27 by President Donald Trump via executive order. Brandeis and the other universities said the ban harms students and scholars who are prevented from either returning to or leaving the U.S., and threatens to weaken the state’s and nation’s ability to attract the best scholars from all over the world.

The brief states, “The importance of maintaining international inclusion on our campuses cannot be overstated. Regular interactions with students and professors who come from different cultures and who have had vastly different life experiences promote both a richer understanding and a deeper appreciation of the pluralistic world in which we live.”

The filing of the brief capped a week in which universities across the country worked to come to grips with the implications of the travel ban and to support students and scholars who would be directly affected.

Brandeis convened a special panel on Feb. 1 to discuss the effect of the executive orders on immigration on the campus community.

Nearly 150 Brandeis students, faculty and staff were on hand for the panel discussion in the Shapiro Theater to gain more understanding of the rapid changes put into effect by President Trump’s executive orders.

“I am heartened by the fact that we have so many in our community that are reaching out and saying, ‘how can I help?’” Provost Lisa M. Lynch told those who attended. “On a more personal note, I urge you, with your friends, classmates and those around you to be supportive and to listen.”

Lynch, Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas, International Students and Scholars Office Director Jodi Hanelt, Intercultural Center Director Madeleine López and immigration attorney Madeline Cronin of Iandoli, Desai & Cronin participated in the panel and answered numerous audience members’ questions about immigration status, travel and safety.

Cronin provided an overview of U.S. immigration policy and broke down the specifics of each of the Trump administration’s recent executive orders regarding America’s southern border and new restrictions on travelers seeking entrance into the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  She cautioned that the policies could continue to change and interpretations of them varied widely, and urged those directly affected to reach out for specific help and support.

Cronin also provided a list of national and Boston-based advocacy groups and organizations that provide pro-bono consultation on immigration-related issue:

Lynch said that that many in the Brandeis community, including alumni, have pledged to support those affected by changing immigration policy in any way they can. Any member of the Brandeis community with specific questions regarding immigration status, travel, or concern for a peer is encouraged to connect with the ISSO, as they can refer members of our community to a range of resources.

López pledged the Intercultural Center is, first and foremost, a place where Brandeis students can learn, feel supported and be safe.

“We are here to help you and be a part of the community,” López said. “Know that everyone here is available to you as a resource. Use this time to support each other—especially the most vulnerable. You are here to learn, and that also means learning how to engage and protect each other.”