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Tripathi signs higher ed letter regarding immigration

By SUE WUETCHER

Published February 3, 2017

President Satish K. Tripathi is among leading college and university presidents from across the country to sign a letter to President Trump asking him to rectify or rescind his executive order closing U.S. borders to immigrants and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries, and to refugees from throughout the world.

The letter, drafted by Princeton University President Chris Eisgruber and University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, states that if left in place, the order “threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.”

The executive order “unfairly targets” the seven countries “in a manner inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions,” the letter says, noting the contributions of Muslim students and scholars to both higher education and to the country “exemplify the value of the religious diversity that has been a hallmark of American freedom since this country’s founding.”

“The American dream depends on continued fidelity to that value.”

The letter points out that American higher education “has benefited tremendously from this country’s long history of embracing immigrants from around the world. Their innovations and scholarship have enhanced American learning, added to our prosperity and enriched our culture.

“We recognize and respect the need to protect America’s security,” the letter states, noting that vigorous vetting procedures already are in place. “Improvements to them should be based on evidence, calibrated to real risks and consistent with constitutional principle.

“We are confident,” the letter says, “that our nation can craft policies that secure us from those who wish to harm us, while welcoming those who seek to study, conduct research and scholarship, and contribute their knowledge and talents to our country.”

Tripathi signed a similar statement last fall supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and undocumented immigrant students.

In a Jan. 30 letter to the university community in response to Trump’s executive order, Tripathi said UB is committed to remaining a welcoming campus for students, faculty and visitors from across the globe “regardless whether current and pending executive actions affect access to the U.S. for anyone from designated countries.”

UB continues to monitor the executive order and other possible actions that may affect the university’s international students, faculty, visiting scholars and staff.

Members of the UB community concerned about the issue can find the latest information on a new Immigration Update website managed by the Office of International Education. The office is actively assisting 122 UB students and 20 faculty, staff and scholars who are impacted by the executive order.