News and Information

Questions and resources - Immigration Executive Orders and Enforcement Strategies by the Federal Government

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The executive orders on immigration signed by President Trump have caused a great deal of anger, confusion, and fear among our campus community. We stand by our students, faculty, and staff who have been impacted by this order and are working hard to assure and support them in this difficult time. Many people and departments are coming together to provide resources and answer questions for those directly impacted by this executive order, and also to those who are feeling anxious and distressed. If you are worried or fearful, please reach out. We are here to help.

Below is the beginning of a questions and resource list. We will continually update it as more information becomes available. Note that other executive orders have also had impacts on the campus community, with more likely to come. This document focuses primarily on the executive orders on immigration, but we are including resources where we are able for other concerns, such as those related to refugee status and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

There is a great deal yet unknown about how the Trump administration will modify immigration regulations going forward. Your patience, support, and assistance in these times are greatly appreciated. Please reach out to the resources listed on this page if you have specific questions or concerns. If you have additional suggestions for resources, send them to cclimate@umn.edu.

Update March 7: Statement from Provost Karen Hanson and AVP Meredith McQuaid

Karen Hanson, Executive Vice President and Provost and Meredith McQuaid, Associate Vice President and Dean, International Programs released a statement today affirming the U's support for members of the University community impacted by the new Executive Order on Immigration and plan to create a new immigration response team.

"We understand the anxiety and concern this new executive order causes for many members of our University community, and we reiterate our compassion and support for them. The University is a truly global institution, and we will continue to welcome people from around the world. We value all that they bring to our campuses and the trust they place in us for their education, employment, and training. 

To ensure that all who are affected by immigration policy changes have access to resources and support, President Kaler last week announced the creation of an immigration response team. This team will provide outreach to the greater University community on the impact of this most recent executive order, immigration regulations, and issues connected with DACA and immigration status."

Update Mar. 6: New Executive Order on Immigration

President Trump signed an updated executive order on immigration today, replacing the one issued on January 27. The executive order will go into effect on March 16, 2017. It states that citizens of six countries (Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen) will not be granted a visa to enter the U.S. for 90 days. Permanent residents, and individuals who already have a valid visa, will be allowed to enter the United States. This executive order does not apply to individuals from Iraq, unlike the previous executive order on immigration. The University continues to carefully review this executive order to understand the implications for international students, scholars, researchers, staff, and faculty. 

Mar. 3: President Kaler announces new immigration response team

In his State of the University address on March 3, President Kaler announced the formation of a campus immigration response team :

“It’s a collaborative effort with many Twin Cities campus and system-wide partners, including our Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, the Office for Equity and Diversity, the Office for Student Affairs, University Relations, Office of Human Resources and the Provost's Office. The Provost and I are committed to ensuring that all who are affected by any immigration policy changes will have a clear and accessible path to resources and support, and to get their questions answered in a timely fashion. We will also provide outreach to the greater University community on issues around immigration, DACA, and diversity. The Provost and I are committed to identifying resources, including a dedicated website and reallocating staff and funding as needed, to support this important work. Look for further announcements soon as we work urgently to get this team in place.”  

Mar. 3: USCIS suspends premium processing for H-1B visa applications

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is suspending "Premium Processing" for all H-1B visa petitions for up to 6 months (effective Apr. 3). This will impact all job offers requiring an H-1B visa, as these individuals may not be able to start until November 2017 or later. Please contact your department's human resources or payroll offices with questions or concerns. More information from ISSS >>

Who is affected by the immigration Executive Orders?

These orders have both direct and indirect impacts. The order issued on March 6, 2017, directly affects anyone from the identified counties (Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen) as well as any student who was anticipating reunification with family members who had been approved to enter as refugees.

The orders require the development of new, more restrictive criteria for immigration benefits such as refugee and asylum status, re-entry into the U.S., and adjustment from nonimmigrant to immigrant status.

Many provisions of these orders indirectly affect all who are not U.S. citizens by implementing programs that are inimical to foreign nationals. The entire tenor of these orders promotes an image of foreign nationals as potential terrorists and undesirable residents of this country unless they can establish that they are likely to become “a positively contributing member of society” and are able “to make contributions to the national interest.”

One example of how unwelcoming these orders are is a provision found in the “Border Security” order issued on 01-25-2017.This provision requires state and local law enforcement to “perform the functions of immigration officers,” including “investigation, apprehension or detention of aliens.” An “entity” risks the loss of federal funding if they fail to participate in this scheme. This mandate has a chilling effect on foreign nationals who are victims of crime or witnesses to crimes. Even if they have done nothing wrong, many prefer to suffer in silence rather than have an encounter where they are the focus of questioning rather than the perpetrator of a crime.

Anyone who is affected can reach out with questions and concerns to International Student and Scholar Services or the University Student Legal Service. Both are reviewing the order and the ongoing developments to assess possible impacts and be able to provide you with the best advice.

How many students, faculty, and staff from the affected countries are at the University of Minnesota?

The University of Minnesota community includes approximately 120 international students and scholars from the affected countries (Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and previously also Iraq), plus hundreds more faculty, staff, and students who have connections to those countries.

What resources are available for students, faculty, and staff who are affected by the Executive Order?

Who should I contact if I came to the U.S as a refugee or immigrant and am not from the affected countries or am undocumented and have concerns?

University resources include the University Student Legal Service and the Center for New Americans.

Resources outside of the University include the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Advocates for Human Rights, CAIR-MN and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Who should I contact if I hear of a student, faculty, or staff member who is having issues related to the Executive Order?

First, make sure that the student, faculty, or staff member is aware of the University resources available to help (see resources in this document).

The Global Programs and Strategy Alliance is serving as the central hub for tracking these issues. If you are not sure whom to contact, please reach out to global@umn.edu or 612-624-5580.

What can I do to help someone who is affected by the executive order?

  • Advise them to seek out the appropriate University resources listed in this document. Remember that you cannot dispense legal advice, including advice related to visas and travel.

  • On a personal level, be willing to ask questions. Invite people to discuss what is sometimes a difficult conversation. Be compassionate and understand that many people are feeling vulnerable and afraid.

  • Read, learn, discuss.

    • CLA’s Immigration and History Resource Center has recently launched #ImmigrationSyllabus, a website and educational resource to help the public understand the deep historical roots of today’s immigration debates. It is a great tool for teaching, learning, and advocacy.

    • Review the research and data collection projects done at the University of Minnesota about the value of international students and scholars and what they add to the University of Minnesota community. You can also learn about the achievements of international students, scholars, and alumni in the Stories and Research section of the ISSS website.

    • International Student and Scholar Services has  a workshop series several for staff and departments interested in learning how to work effectively with international students and scholars -  ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series.

    • Connect with units of the Office for Equity and Diversity for support and various educational and processing opportunities.
    • If you are a U.S. citizen, use that privilege to speak to your elected officials and by participating in demonstrations and other peaceful ways that express your concern about the impact of this policy on our community.

    • The U has a new campaign, “We all belong here,” with supportive and inclusive messages. Information about that campaign and how to order posters and download social media images can be found here.

Should I be concerned if I’m traveling abroad?

We encourage most travelers to continue their activities as normal. According to the language of the March 6 Executive Order, individuals from the countries specifically listed in the Executive Order who have valid visas should be able to travel outside the U.S. and re-enter without issues. We recommend that individuals from the countries specifically listed in the Executive Order consult with International Student and Scholar Services or the Immigration Response Team as appropriate if they have concerns about travel.

Also, because of the campaign talk of ending DACA, students with DACA status should be aware that an executive order issued while they are out of the country could make it difficult or impossible to return to the USA. Those who have concerns about their legal status should consult with the GPS Alliance International Health and Safety team (or the appropriate education abroad office, for study abroad students) before traveling outside the U.S.

The University of Minnesota urges all University travelers to register their international travel as required by University policy, so that we may continue to provide assistance and support for all international travel.

Further, the University of Minnesota recommends that all travelers register with the U.S. embassy in the country they are visiting via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the embassy’s most recent health and safety updates during your time abroad.

The University of Minnesota does not plan to restrict University travel or withdraw travelers from these countries at this time. However, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and post updates via this website.

For updates, go to the International Travel Announcements web page:

Does the Executive Order impact students who are, or will be, studying abroad?

The Executive Order does not prohibit travel outside the U.S.; however, it does prohibit the issuing of visas to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days. 

For students who are concerned about their own legal status, they should be in touch with their campus education abroad office in advance of travel to receive direction, assistance, and/or support.

If I’m not a U.S. citizen, can I participate in protests or sign petitions?

If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your First Amendment rights, you are encouraged to consult with a legal professional (fee-paying students can consult University Student Legal Service) before deciding to participate in a demonstration or protest march. A few disruptive participants can cause police to indiscriminately detain or arrest anyone within sight in an effort to prevent a riot.  Foreign nationals should be aware that when applying for many future immigration benefits, they will be asked to disclose any incident where they were detained or arrested, even if they were not ultimately charged with a crime. This information will be considered when deciding whether to approve or deny an application for a future benefit.

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Please share this information broadly. Here is a quick link to this page: z.umn.edu/immEO

Perspectives

"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.