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Executive Order on immigration and refugee policy

January 29, 2017

Dear Vassar community,

The President’s Executive Order limiting entry to the U.S. of non-citizens from seven countries, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely, and suspending entry of all refugees for 120 days has sown confusion and upended lives. It is in stark and disheartening contrast to the values of inclusion that we at Vassar and so many others in our country consider paramount.

I have joined with thousands of academics worldwide, including members of Vassar’s faculty, in petitioning President Trump to reconsider his Executive Order. The petition characterizes this order as “discriminatory,” “detrimental to the national interests of the United States,” and imposing an “undue burden on members of our community.” It is available at https://notoimmigrationban.com/.

We are not yet aware of Vassar students or employees overseas whose reentry has been barred or delayed. The new Poughkeepsie office of Church World Service still expects the first refugee family resettled to the Mid-Hudson Valley to arrive soon. The other families destined for our area will be affected by this pause in refugee arrivals, with an indefinite delay unless the Executive Order is amended. Preparing to welcome 80 people from overseas to the Mid-Hudson Valley has been the focus of months of preparation by Vassar Refugee Solidarity, the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance, and community partners.

As stated in my December 2016 email to the Vassar community, Vassar College will continue to welcome and support students without regard to immigration status. We will not release information on the immigration status of students or employees unless required to do so by law. We will not take any voluntary action that would put students or employees at risk based on their citizenship or immigration status.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will monitor the developing situation closely and determine ways in which we can support vulnerable members of the Vassar College community. If you have specific information about impacts of the Executive Order on members of the Vassar community, or if you have suggestions or questions, please contact presidentsoffice@vassar.edu.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Chenette
Interim President