Executive Order on Immigration

The Office of the Provost has created this page to guide the Tufts community about the Executive Order, entitled “Protecting the Nation from foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” that was initially issued on January 27, 2017, and then revised and reissued on March 6, 2017.  Frequently Asked Questions about the March 6 Executive Order are answered below.  We continue to monitor the situation and evaluate the impacts of the Executive Order on the Tufts community.  We will continue to post updates on this page when new developments occur or when new information is available.

Latest News and Updates

June 26, 2017 Update

Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari for the travel ban cases and agreed to hear oral arguments this fall.  In the meantime, the Court reinstated the administration’s travel ban – at least, in part.

  • The reinstated travel ban only applies to foreign nationals from the six designated countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) who lack “any bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the US.”
  • The reinstated ban does not apply to students who have been accepted to US universities or employees who work for US companies because these individuals have “bona fide” relationships with U.S. entities that exempt them from the ban.

For full text of the opinion, see here https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-1436_l6hc.pdf

Based on today’s decision, current and incoming Tufts’ students, faculty and staff should still be able to travel abroad and return to the United States.  As always, however, we must note that individual travelers may experience heightened screening requirements and delays, as enforcement agencies and airlines come to grips with yet another version of the travel ban. Please be sure to carry documentation evidencing your connection to Tufts (I-20, DS-2019, Non-immigrant visa approval notices, letters of appointment).  If you encounter difficulty returning to Tufts, please contact Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) at 617-627-6911.

Tufts remains deeply committed to our international community and recognizes that today’s decision will impact many of our friends and colleagues who do not, as of yet, have a “bona fide” relationship with us.  We will continue to watch these developments closely in the weeks and months ahead and encourage you to be in touch with the Tufts International Office with any questions.

March 22, 2017 Update:

New Restrictions on Electronic Devices and Possible Difficulties Entering the United States

On March 21, 2017, Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) restricted airline passengers from bringing large electronic devices (laptops, tablets, e-readers, electronic games, portable printers, cameras, etc.) in carry-on luggage on flights from the following 10 airports:

Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) (Amman, Jordan)

Cairo International Airport (CAI) (Cairo, Egypt)

Ataturk International Airport (IST) (Istanbul, Turkey)

King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

King Khalid International Airport (RUH) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

Kuwait International Airport (KWI) (Farwaniya, Kuwait)

Mohammed V Airport (CMN) (Casablanca, Morocco)

Hamad International Airport (DOH) (Doha, Qatar)

Dubai International Airport (DXB) (Dubai)

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) (Abu Dhabi)

All travelers coming to the United States from these airports should place large electronic devices in their checked luggage.  Passengers can carry cellphones/smartphones on the plane.

For a fact sheet on the new security measures, see https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/03/21/fact-sheet-aviation-security-enhancements-select-last-point-departure-airports.

The United Kingdom has adopted similar measures for flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

 

Executive Order FAQ

While the situation remains fluid, the following are answers to frequently asked questions concerning the Executive Order.  They are available for download here. The FAQs provide general information.  For further information, or if you require legal advice, please reach out to the university resources listed below.

1. What does the Executive Order Do?

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  The January 27 Executive Order suspended entry to the U.S. of immigrants and non-immigrants from 7 countries for a period of 90 days – through April 30, 2017.  The 7 countries are:  Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  The Order also suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, after which the program was to be conditionally resumed and refugee claims of individuals from persecuted minority religions were to be given first priority.

Implementation of this Executive Order was blocked by the courts; on February 3, a federal court judge in Seattle, WA blocked implementation of the Executive Order nationwide, and on February 7, the Ninth Circuit upheld that decision.

On March 6, 2017, the President issued a new Executive Order (EO) to replace the original January 27 Executive Order. This EO suspends travel to the United States from now only 6 countries for a period of 90 days beginning on March 16, 2017. Unlike the previous EO, however, this EO is prospective: it does not apply to permanent residents or to nationals of the 6 countries who have valid visas obtained on or before January 27.  In addition, unlike the previous Executive Order, it does not apply to Iraqi citizens; Iraq was previously listed among those nations, but it was removed from this latest iteration after reassurances from the Iraqi government of increased information sharing with the United States.

The full text of the EO is here.  A fact sheet and Q&A on implementation of the EO, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, can be found here.

2. Who is impacted by the Executive Order?

As of March 16, 2017, the Executive Order prevents nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days (i.e., until June 14, 2017) who are outside the U.S. on March 16 and did not have a valid visa on January 27 and do not have a valid visa on March 16.

What does this mean? This means that the following people are NOT subject to the EO:

  • Tufts students, faculty, staff and scholars who are citizens of one of the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) with a valid visa (F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.) obtained on or before January 27;
  • S. permanent residents (green card holders) from the 6 countries;
  • Dual nationals with citizenship of one of the 6 countries and another country (other than the U.S.) traveling on a passport from a non-designated country with a valid visa (e.g., a dual Iranian Canadian citizen traveling on a Canadian passport).
  • A national of one of the 6 countries with a valid travel document other than a visa (e.g., advance parole) that is valid as of the date of the EO;
  • People traveling on a diplomatic visa, NATO visa, and/or C-2, G-1, G-2, G-2 and G-4 visas.

The EO DOES APPLY to prospective students, faculty or staff or visitors (e.g., conference attendees or speakers) who are citizens of one of the 6 countries and who did not obtain a valid visa by January 27.

3. Are there exceptions?

The EO does allow for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to grant a waiver on a case-by-case basis, if the foreign national demonstrates “that denying entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship, and that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security and would be in the national interest.”  The process for seeking a waiver still is unclear from the text of the EO and fact sheet and Q&A on implementation issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

The EO lists examples of circumstances in which a waiver could be granted, including:

  • Students or temporary workers who are outside the U.S. when the Order takes effect returning to resume their studies/work;
  • People with significant contacts with the US but who are out of the US for work;
  • People seeking to enter the US for significant professional obligations, and the obligations would be impaired if entry is denied;
  • People seeking to visit or reside with a close family member who is a U.S. citizen, green card holder or has a valid visa, and “denial of entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship”;
  • Landed Canadian immigrants (i.e., permanent residents) applying for a U.S. visa in Canada
  • S. Government-sponsored exchange visitors.

4. How does the Executive Order affect applications for visa extensions or for immigration benefits?

On February 2, USCIS updated its website with a statement that it is continuing to adjudicate applications for benefits regardless of country of origin.  The Department of Homeland Security has also indicated in its Q&A documentation that USCIS will continue to adjudicate applications for naturalization, and applications to register permanent residence or adjust status.

5. Is the list being expanded?

The Executive Order directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to conduct a worldwide review to identify whether and what additional information will be needed from countries to process visas, if any.  Additional countries may be included for restrictions or limitations based on this review.  The deadline for the report from this review is April 5.  We will know more then.

6. What advice is Tufts giving regarding travel outside the United States?

If you are from one of the six countries, and have a valid visa, you can travel abroad and return to the United States.  However, given the uncertainty and fluidity of the situation, we have some concern that by being outside the United States on or after the effective date of the new Executive Order (March 16, 2017), people from the six remaining countries on the list (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) could experience significant difficulty returning to the United States.  Until we have more information about how the new ban will be implemented, and what (if any) legal challenges may be brought against it, our advice cautiously remains:  If you are from one of the six remaining countries on the travel ban list and can reasonably avoid discretionary travel outside the United States, we recommend that you continue to do so.  If you need to travel, please reach out to your international office or to Diana Chigas, Senior International Officer and Associate Provost before you travel, to ensure you are up to date on the latest developments.

7. What should I do to prepare for travel and re-entry to the United States, if I decide to travel?

For students, faculty and staff from the six countries covered by the EO, we recommend that you avoid discretionary travel outside the United States, if you can, until we have more information about how the new ban will be implemented.  For all travelers (whether you are from one of the six countries or not), our advice is that you are cautious and plan more extensively than you have before the EO was issued. Please take time to review these recommendations, especially if you are traveling outside the U.S.:

  • Register your travel. If you are traveling on Tufts-organized or work-related trips, be sure to register your travel with the Tufts Travel Registry.  Registering will help the University be able to contact you to assist you in the event of an emergency or any unexpected developments.  It will also give you access to very useful medical and travel insurance, as well as regular updates and information on the situation in the countries you are traveling to, when you are on Tufts-related travel.  We are also in the process of creating a Registry for those who would like to register their personal travel (e.g., vacation, going home to visit family, etc.); while this will not provide International SOS medical and travel insurance, registering will allow the University to contact you in case of an emergency and to help you in case you face challenges in returning.
  • Make sure your documents are in order. Please ensure your passport is valid for reentry, that you hold the appropriate and valid visa in your passport, and that you carry with you all required immigration documents (e.g., Form DS-2019/I-20, valid passport, valid visa, etc.). If you have an F or J visa, be sure you have a valid travel signature from your international office.  In addition, while not strictly necessary, it may be helpful to carry your school ID and a letter from your department or dean (or Registrar) describing your status at the school, your activities and contributions.  A sample is available for download here.
  • Be prepared for heightened security measures/extra screening at the airport. You should expect and plan for delays and more intrusive questioning and searches at inspection points. CBP may require you to hand over your mobile devices (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) Consider whether you need to carry electronic devices such as computers or cell phones.  We recommend that if you are traveling, you should, if possible, seek alternatives to traveling with your devices, travel with a “clean” laptop, or, if that is no possible, be mindful of any sensitive or confidential data that may be carried on or synced to your devices.
  • If you are unable to re-enter the United States following your trip, please contact us (diana.chigas@tufts.edu and dana.fleming@tufts.edu), so that we can try to assist you in returning to Tufts.  If you are detained by immigration officials and unable to re-enter the United States following your trip, please contact the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) at 617-627-6911. They will connect you with one of us, so we can try to assist you in returning to Tufts. Please note that the TUPD number should be used for emergency situations only in which your detention prevents you from returning to the United States.

8. What has Tufts been doing in response to the Executive Orders?

President Monaco issued a statement two days after the Executive Order was issued, expressing Tufts’ commitment to protect and support the international members of our university community. In that statement, the University reiterated that Tufts will not provide information or assist in the enforcement of immigration laws except as mandated by a subpoena, warrant or court order.

On February 2, the University signed on to a letter to President Trump, organized by the Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University:  The following day, Tufts signed onto a letter to the Department of Homeland Security organized by the American Council on Education.

On February 3, Tufts joined seven other private colleges and universities in Massachusetts (including Harvard, MIT, BC, Northeastern, WPI, Brandeis and BU) in filing an amicus brief in the Massachusetts case seeking a permanent injunction of the Executive Order. The amicus brief began by quoting part of President Monaco’s message to the Tufts community: “We take great pride in the global nature of our community and have always embraced and valued our international members from around the world. They are our colleagues and friends. Our community and the world are better places because of what we learn and create together.”

9. What resources are available?

Assistance on immigration and visas: The University is helping affected members of our community, including connecting them to legal resources where needed.  For ongoing questions regarding your visa status, applicants and renewals or other immigration-related questions, please contact the following offices for assistance:

Counseling and Mental Health.  Services are available for those who have been or may be impacted by the Executive Order.

Medford: The Counseling and Mental Health Service, 120 Curtis Street

The Counseling and Mental Health Service will be holding a drop-in group conversation hour on Friday afternoons from 2pm – 3pm for students who have been, or may be impacted by the recent Executive Order on immigration.  The group will provide a safe space for participants to converse and connect with others who have similar concerns, provide mutual support, and discuss strategies for self-care and managing stress. The groups will be held at the Counseling and Mental Health Service, at 120 Curtis Street, diagonally across the street from Fletcher Field.  No registration is necessary.  Groups will be held each Friday afternoon at the same time and place for the month of February, and may continue beyond that date if there is sufficient interest.

Boston: Student Wellness Advising: 200 Harrison Avenue, Posner Hall, 4th Floor

Sharon Snaggs Gendron is available to provide support and discuss strategies for managing stress for those on the Boston campus affected by the Executive Order.

Immigrant Rights.  Following are links to resources from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Immigration Law Resource Center (ILRC) that have useful information on what to do if you are stopped and questioned by immigration officials, the police or the FBI:

ILRC Immigrant Rights Under a Trump Administration

ILRC Red Card on Asserting Rights

ACLU What To Do If You’re Stopped by the Police, Immigration Officials or the FBI

NILC “Know Your Rights”

List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers