GW releases statement on presidential executive order

University President Steven Knapp released a statement responding to the presidential executive order on immigration restrictions Monday.

In the statement, Knapp said that the GW International Services Office, the Office of General Counsel and the External Relations division are working to understand how the executive order issued by President Donald Trump will affect GW students, faculty and staff and expressed support for all those affected by the order.

Knapp said GW members, including students who have visas that are sponsored by the University, who are impacted by the order will have to the opportunity to attend an information session and that those impacted will not be persecuted for their immigration status alone.

“Whatever its intent may be, the presidential executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States directly threatens the well-being of students as well as of faculty and staff members who come from the affected countries,” Knapp said in the release.

Knapp said travelling outside the United States for some members of the GW community is “very risky” and there are still many unanswered questions about the order. He said that there is the possibility that individuals from the listed countries on the order, including those on student or scholar non-immigrant visas, dual citizens and green card holders, could not be readmitted to the country.

Faculty and students have been involved in protests around the city and have spoken out about their fears about what the Trump immigration ban means for fellow and future students.

Officials laid out five principles to show a “commitment to the safety and success of all GW students” in December after students presented a list of demands to administrators in the wake of the incoming President-elect Trump’s administration.

Knapp said in the release that he will uphold the principles stated in December and that the University will continue to “safeguard student records and provide legal and counseling services to all who need them.”

Students, faculty members and staff will not be questioned or arrested by University Police Department officers on the basis of immigration status alone and officers will not participate in joint immigration enforcement efforts unless they are required to by law, Knapp said.

In November, Knapp joined more than 180 university presidents nationwide in a letter to support a program that prevents the deportation of young undocumented citizens.

“Now I am asking also that we offer our support and friendship to our international students, faculty members and staff who are rightly concerned about their and their families’ future in a nation that, in its proudest moments, has opened its doors to the hopes and aspirations of all people,” Knapp said in the statement.

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