That order last Friday suspended entry of all refugees into the U.S. for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and for 90 days blocked entry for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including holders of student visas. This action could affect dozens of CUNY students, as well as some faculty and staff.
We at MEC pride ourselves on serving multiple diaspora communities. We embrace everyone, no matter their country of origin or immigration status. Our diversity is our strength: we are a nation of refugees and immigrants, voluntary and involuntary. As an institution of higher education we are also a place where we can dissect and debate Mr. Trump’s Executive Order and its myriad implications, both practical and symbolic.
Practically, CUNY students, faculty and staff in the United States with questions about their immigration status and/or travel abroad should write to Citizenship Now! at email@example.com.
The International Student Advisor at MEC is Joylyn Phillip-Ndiaye at 718-270-4893 in the department of Admission & Recruitment. If students, faculty or staff are detained trying to enter the United States, or are abroad and need guidance, please contact CUNY Citizenship Now! Attorney Isabel Bucaram at 646-860-5678.
Here at MEC, the Immigration Center under the auspices of CUNY Citizenship Now! offers free legal immigration services to the immigrant community. The Center is located at 1150 Carroll Street, Room 226, and can be reached at 718-270-6292 and online at http://www1.cuny.edu/sites/citizenship-now/.
Members of the college community who would like a more private conversation are encouraged to visit or call the Counseling and Psychological Services Center in Suite 1005 in the Bedford Building at 718-270-6939.
I encourage you all to read the message from CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken, who outlines the commitment that CUNY makes to its students, almost 40 percent of whom were born in another country. His message states:
CUNY will take no action to assist in the enforcement of the immigration laws except as required by law;
CUNY will protect student record information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act;
CUNY will not turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to court order;
CUNY will not request or gather information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services or in connection with public safety activities except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility; and
CUNY will not permit immigration enforcement officials to enter its campuses except to the extent required by a warrant or court order.
Additionally, CUNY recommends that until further notice, immigrant and non-immigrant students, faculty and staff from the seven countries listed in the Executive Order should avoid travel outside the United States.
While this is a time of confusion and sorrow for many, remember that the ideals of this country have been tested many times. I remain confident that righteousness will prevail and that we will emerge stronger and wiser, as individuals and as a nation. Please know that there will be opportunities in the coming days to continue the dialogue about the challenges we face, here at the College and beyond.