ISSS Statement

On January 27th, ISSS issued a statement (below) regarding an executive order that prohibited entry to the US for citizens of seven countries. In the days that followed, many aspects of this executive order were changed and ultimately suspended. On March 6th, that executive order was withdrawn but a new one has been issued in its place.

Rather than a travel ban, this executive order places a temporary suspension on entry visa issuance for citizens of six countries: Syria, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen. Iraq, which was named in the first executive order, is no longer subject to this formal suspension, however this executive order does state that Iraqi nationals will be subject to “thorough review’ for any visa applications and admission to the US. This visa issuance suspension will take effect on March 16th, 2017, and run for an initial 90 days. ISSS is therefore issuing the following recommendations.

Firstly, if you are a citizen of one of the six named countries or Iraq and you do not currently possess a valid entry visa, we are recommending you do not travel. While the executive order does say that entry visas may be issued to students, scholars, and other individuals who have been previously granted entry to the US, such visas would be issued on a case by case basis and could not be guaranteed. Given the ambiguity surrounding how an individual would qualify for an exception to the visa issuance suspension or what constitutes a ‘thorough review’, we recommend remaining in the US while the suspension is in place.

Secondly, if you are a citizen of one of the six named countries or Iraq that is currently in possession of a valid entry visa, we are still recommending caution regarding international travel. We expect citizens of these countries to experience lengthy delays at the border, including possible time spent at secondary inspection. While the executive order does state these individuals are admissible to the US, CBP has ultimate jurisdiction in this area and therefore we recommend you strongly consider the potential risks before attempting international travel.

In my statement on January 27th, I told you that you were welcome in the US. I realize that message may be even harder to believe in light of this second executive order so soon after the initial one. However since that first executive order I have seen firsthand our community come together in support of our international population. Departments, colleges, faculty, staff, students, and community members have all inundated our office with messages of support for our international population. The University of Illinois will continue our commitment to your education and wellbeing, and ISSS will always be a place you can ask for help. We will assist in any way we can.

Sincerely,

Martin McFarlane
Director, ISSS

statement following 1/27/17 Executive order

On Friday, January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order that suspends entry visas for citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days. I would like to make you aware of two important points regarding this action.
Firstly, we recommend that no citizen from these countries travels outside the US in the next 90 days, as your entry visa will not be deemed eligible and you will not be able to return to the US. We also recommend that you make any friends and family members from these countries aware of this restriction as well, and encourage them not to travel to the US during these 90 days either. We do not currently know what the situation will be when these 90 days expire, but ISSS will continue to carefully monitor this situation and provide you with updates as we get them. Please remember that this executive order refers to entry visas only, so the current nonimmigrant status in the US for individuals from these countries is unaffected.
Secondly, I want to address the message this executive order is sending. If you are from one of these countries, you are probably feeling unwelcome in the country you have chosen to travel to, the country you have chosen to live, study, or work in. I want you to hear the following very clearly. You are wanted at the University of Illinois. You are needed here. And you are valued here. ISSS will continue to advocate for you at both a local and national level, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you feel we can help in any way.

Sincerely,
Martin McFarlane
Director, ISSS


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