America Must Rise Above Racism and Xenophobia

 

Statement by NAFSA Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy Jill Welch
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Morgan, 202.495.2553, rebeccam@nafsa.org
Kolbie Blume, 202.495.2528, kolbieb@nafsa.org

Washington, June 26, 2018 — Today, the United States Supreme Court announced the decision to uphold the implementation of President Trump’s travel ban. The following is a statement by Jill Welch, Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

“The United States has prided itself on being a country that welcomes people from foreign lands on the founding premise of religious freedom and equal opportunity for all. The only way we can stand as a beacon of hope for all, regardless of religion or ethnicity, is if we continue to evolve toward a more perfect union whose policies fully represent these ideals. Today, we have taken a giant step backward as the Supreme Court ruled to uphold a ban perceived around the world as a thinly-veiled attempt to target Muslim-majority nations.

“Students from around the globe come here to study, research and grow in our world-class institutions because they believe that America offers freedom and the highest-quality education—and our nation has thrived because of our strength in diversity, not in spite of it. This is evidenced in the simple fact that almost half of all Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their children. Yet, despite this great legacy, today’s Supreme Court ruling to uphold the travel ban tarnishes our reputation and casts doubt in the minds of all students and scholars around the world that the United States is a welcoming nation that fosters religious freedom. Today, they are wondering: ‘is the United States still the country where we will be welcomed, where we can study or build a business?’

“At a time when we should be making every effort to create connections and ties around the world through robust international exchange with all nations, especially those in the Middle East, the Supreme Court’s decision poses a grave threat to our national security and keeps us from building those necessary relationships abroad. While universities and colleges work tirelessly to welcome international students and scholars, the chilling effect of this policy and the uncertainty for our international students and scholars will undoubtedly continue the current downturn in U.S. international student enrollment as the world wonders whether America will hold true to our values. Today, the United States can be seen as a country that bans people from our shores, not on the basis of what they have done, but for where they are from.

“Now the responsibility lies with Congress to stop further emboldening this administration in its anti-immigrant, xenophobic path under the guise of national security. Voters will have an opportunity in November to demand that our elected officials stand for freedom, equality and opportunity for all.”