By Emily Tai
On Sunday, January 29, 2017, President Trump’s Executive Order suspended visas for individuals from nations “of concern,” A graduate student in Political Science at the City University Graduate Center, Sara Rafiee, who had returned to her native Iran during the winter break to visit her family, was prevented from returning to the United States to continue her studies. The suddenly announced policy (already subject to multiple injunctions) is deeply troubling.
Ms. Rafiee is one of approximately 120 students enrolled in units of CUNY from countries affected by the President’s ban.
As of this writing, Chancellor Milliken has issued a new statement, reiterating past and current support for CUNY’s immigrant students, and the mission of the City University. Concerned faculty are invited to sign the Academics Against Immigration Executive Order petition—the Washington Post reports that thousands of academics have already signed. In addition, CUNY University Student Senate (USS) Legislative Affairs Vice-Chair Hercules E. Reid and PSC Chair Professor Barbara Bowen have recommended that people who wish to advocate for Ms. Rafiee contact their U.S. Senators and congressional representatives. Chancellor Milliken’s Twitter feed says that CUNY is offering assistance to potentially affected students. At this point, it is unknown if any CUNY faculty are affected.
A demonstration in support of Ms. Rafiee, with CUNY USS leadership, the CUNY DREAMers, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, also took place Monday January 30, at 1 PM, at the United States District Court, 225 Cadman Plaza East, in Brooklyn.
Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog. She would like to thank her colleague, Professor Jay Weiser, Associate Professor of Law at Baruch College, a member of the UFS Executive Committee and UFS Legal Affairs Chair, who contributed several references for this post.
The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.
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