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Message from the President

News Story

A message from Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman on the recent executive order on immigration.

January 30, 2017        

To the members of the Pace Community:

     President Trump's recent executive order banning all people traveling on passports from seven specified countries from entering the United States has spread uncertainty across America and revulsion in large parts of this country. Emotions are running high, and college campuses, with large numbers of international students far away from home, are particularly vulnerable to the stress. Many people are deeply concerned about the content and breadth of the order and have serious questions about whether it is consistent with the Constitution. As a university, we are equally concerned about the students, faculty, and staff who may be affected by this executive order. Their safety and well-being remain our highest priority. We support them and will do everything we can to maintain an environment that welcomes them to study, work, and enjoy the benefits of an education at Pace University.

     While the many issues raised by President Trump's executive order are considered by the courts, our goal is to ensure all students, faculty, and staff thrive at Pace without interruption. We are fortunate to have a very diverse community and we value and embrace that diversity. Our different perspectives enhance our understanding, provide deeper context for learning, and enrich the personal relationships that are such an important part of university life.

     I want to emphasize my own view that this order appears to have been the product of a small group of White House advisers who did not have the benefit of the usual inter-agency vetting process that has traditionally preceded a change of Administration policy of this magnitude. Much remains unclear. That vetting process is designed to surface secondary and tertiary effects of the policy change and any unintended consequences. Accordingly, it may well be that there will be numerous changes in the order in the coming weeks, and it is not possible to predict whether the result will be a much more limited or an expanded ban on entry.

     Accordingly, until the rules are clearer, we strongly advise any member of the Pace Community who is not a U.S. citizen to remember the following points:

       >>Since the U.S. has suspended the Visa Interview Waiver Program, if you will be traveling outside the U.S. and need to apply for a new visa to return, you should allow for an extended period of time abroad for visa processing. Visa interview wait times are expected to increase significantly. You can review the visa appointment and application processing times at the Department of State's website: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/.

       >>If you are a citizen (national) of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen with a visa to enter the United States, there is an immediate ban on entry to the U.S. for 90 days. If you are from one of these countries, you can legally remain in the U.S. provided you maintain your current visa or lawful permanent resident status. If you are from one of these countries, we strongly recommend you not travel outside of the U.S. at this time. We are concerned you may not be able to return to the U.S. once you leave. Please note, these restrictions may apply even if you have dual citizenship with a non-U.S. country (e.g. United Kingdom/Iran).

       >>If you are a citizen (national) of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen who is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, traveling on a valid permanent green card (Form I-551), the U.S. Government has announced that you will be allowed to board U.S. bound aircraft and will be assessed for national security concerns at arrival ports of entry. Notwithstanding this exemption from the general ban, we strongly recommend you consult with an immigration expert prior to traveling outside the U.S., or returning to the U.S. if you have been overseas.   

     Our International Students and Scholars Office is ready to advise and assist students or scholars on a non-immigrant visa who need help. You can reach out to Barry Stinson at (212) 346-1692, or via e-mail at bstinson@pace.edu for assistance.

     In addition, the Immigration Justice Clinic at Pace's Elisabeth Haub School of Law is going to offer information sessions that explore the implications and issues surrounding President Trump's executive order. You can contact Professor Vanessa Merton at (914) 422-4330, or via e-mail at vmerton@law.pace.edu, for more information about these sessions. For certain students, the Immigration Justice Clinic may be able to provide legal representation for those who need it. We will also make available a list of other legal services for those who desire private legal counsel. Faculty and staff who have concerns should contact Elizabeth Garti, Pace's Associate Vice President of Human Resources. You can reach her at (914) 923-2781 or egarti@pace.edu. Finally, the Pace University Counseling Center is available to speak with anyone who is feeling unsettled because of this event. To reach the Counseling Center in New York City, you can call (212) 346-1526. In Westchester, the phone number is (914) 773-3710.

     Please be assured that Pace University will not voluntarily provide access to anyone's personal information, visa, or immigration status without a subpoena, court order, or to comply with other legal requirements.

     We will remain in constant communication with Pace's immigration counsel and continue to update you as information becomes available. In the meantime, please remember that for over a century—through changes in governments and evolving perspectives on national and international issues—Pace's approach to education has never wavered. We provide all our students with opportunities to expand their minds and achieve their dreams and we stand firmly behind our students, faculty, and staff.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen J. Friedman 

 

 

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