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Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs

A Message for International Students and Scholars Regarding the Executive Order on Immigration

See our executive order information page for more.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

To:  Rutgers International Students and Scholars

As most of you know, President Trump issued an executive order last Friday barring visa-holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the United States for 90 days. Other aspects of the executive order affect permanent residents from the seven countries and all refugees.  This executive order has created great fear and confusion in the US and around the world, including on university campuses such as Rutgers with large international student and scholar populations, as well as vibrant Muslim communities. Parts of the executive order have already been challenged in U.S. courts and the administration has been forced to reverse some of the restrictions.

We at the Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers) want to assure you that this executive order runs counter to our mission, vision, and values.  Indeed, it runs counter to core values of the United States itself. In fact a large segment of the US population disagrees with the Trump administration’s unjust, divisive executive order. Many view it to be discriminatory and illegal. 

We at the GAIA Centers are here to support you, our many international students and scholars. Your presence makes Rutgers a stronger university, and your contributions as students and scholars advance our collective mission. We pledge to continue our efforts to make Rutgers a truly global university and to create bridges between peoples of different races, religions, and nationalities, both here and abroad. 

Rutgers President Robert Barchi has issued several messages to the university community outlining his and the University’s commitment to students and recommendations for students affected by the changing policies. We agree with those recommendations and encourage you to keep up to date with Rutgers advisories and with information from credible news sources. In addition to President Barchi’s recommendations, please keep in mind the following:

1.       You have a large support network in our offices (the GAIA Centers, especially the Center for Global Services), in other Rutgers units such as the Division of Student Affairs, the Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the Graduate School-New Brunswick, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and in many other programs and schools.  Mental health (CAPS) and legal services are also available across the university.

2.       We need and encourage clear and open communication. If you are experiencing legal issues or discrimination, tell us. Talk to your academic and/or your international student advisers. We need to know about such situations in order to help you and to confront the issue head on.

3.       Tell us if you are feeling afraid or isolated. Tell your advisers and relevant counseling services.  Speak to the many other support groups and student associations on campus. 

4.       If you are from one of the seven countries listed in the executive order, we currently advise against travel outside the US, at least until the policy is rescinded or changed.  We are keeping a close eye on changes as well as new policies that may arise regarding international students.

We need to keep each other informed about what is happening and what resources are available to confront the new laws and rules. In addition to working with the above noted offices, you should feel free to consult with legal experts and advisers such as those at the Rutgers Immigrant Rights Clinic (973-353-5292).

As policy and enforcement evolve and develop, we will increase our outreach to you on these issues through social media, email and website updates, and other methods.  Again, please know that you are wanted, needed, and valued at Rutgers and in the US. To the best of our ability, we will defend and advocate for you locally, nationally, and internationally.



Eric (Rick) Garfunkel
Vice President for International and Global Affairs
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey







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