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

travel ban immigration panel at brandeisPhoto/Mike Lovett

Left to right: ISSO director Jodi Hanelt, ICC director Madeleine Lopez, Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas, immigration attorney Madeline Cronin and Provost Lisa M. Lynch

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:

  • Irish International Immigrant Center (617-542-7654)
  • Catholic Charities (617-464-8100)
  • Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) Project (617-742-9296)
  • The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) (617-350-5480)
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) of Massachusetts (617-482-3170 ex 100)
  • International Institute of New England at Lowell (978-459-9031)

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.”

Categories: Alumni, Student Life

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