Updates on the Immigration Executive Order (a.k.a. the “travel ban”)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Related update: Columbia joined 30 colleges and universities in a friend of the court brief arguing that international students, faculty and staff are vital to their institutions and the world, and that Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 contradicts the freedom of religion and equality embodied in the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Read more.

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Columbia remains concerned about the federal executive order that restricts travel to the United States by citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.  The United States Supreme Court permitted the ban to take effect while legal challenges are ongoing.

As President Bollinger stated last March, the travel ban has harmful effects on many individuals and also seriously interferes with our commitment to participate in the international exchange of information and ideas.  The University has joined statements, letters, and amicus briefs in opposition to it. 

We encourage students and other community members affected by the ban to contact to contact David Austell, Director of the International Students and Scholars Office at david.austell@columbia.edu.  For more information, please see here.   

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For more information, here is an edited excerpt of a message from David Austell, the Director of the International Students and Scholars Office at Columbia to students, faculty and staff from the affected countries:
 
Once again, I am reaching out to you to regarding the latest developments on the Presidential Proclamation of September 24, 2017 that restricts travel to the United States by citizens of your countries.
 
Supreme Court Order, December 4, 2017
Monday, December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court issued an order that allows the full enforcement of the travel restrictions. This means that the preliminary injunctions that blocked enforcement of the Proclamation, granted by U.S. district courts in Hawaii and Maryland, are no longer in effect.
 
The restrictions in are country-specific and impose varying entry restrictions or enhanced vetting requirements on nonimmigrant travelers, including visiting students and scholars. These restrictions haven’t changed. Please refer back to our news article Presidential Proclamation Restricts Travel from 8 Countries for the original provisions that are now in effect along with a compilation of updates that have occurred since its issuance.
 
What’s Next?
It is important to note that the Supreme Court ruling does not prevent the legal proceedings challenging travel restrictions from going forward, and this is not a final ruling. According to SCOTUSBlog, (an important blog about the Supreme Court of the United States) oral arguments are scheduled in the Ninth Circuit in Seattle on Wednesday, December 6 and in the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday, December 8.
On Monday, the American Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted:
“This is not a ruling on the merits, and we continue our fight. We are at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday to argue that the Muslim ban should ultimately be struck down.“
 
Staying Informed
Information on the September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation 9645 restricting entry to the United Sates is continuously updated on the NAFSA website and I encourage you to refer to it on a regular basis. 
 
ISSO Guidance
Given the provisions of the Proclamation, ISSO strongly advises students and other community members from the affected countries not to travel internationally at this time and to inform ISSO if you know of any colleagues who are outside the United States as we monitor the situation.
Community members may contact David Austell directly at david.austell@columbia.edu with any questions or concerns.