University President Thomas LeBlanc on Thursday affirmed support for students, faculty and staff affected by the Trump administration’s travel ban, which was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this week.
“We believe in fostering an inclusive environment and a free exchange of ideas,” LeBlanc wrote in a University release. “We stand ready to assist our community members who are affected by this development.”
The most recent version of the ban, issued in September, restricts travel from seven countries – Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela – several of which are majority-Muslim. The United States’ highest court upheld the order Tuesday, saying that President Donald Trump’s charged statements about Muslims on the campaign trail do not deter from his authority to secure U.S. borders.
But the ban’s challengers have argued that the measure is discriminatory and unconstitutional. GW, along with 30 other colleges and universities, challenged an early version of the travel ban in March 2017, saying the order would harm U.S. higher education institutions that enroll international students from the affected countries.
LeBlanc said the University “welcomes students, faculty, staff, alumni and families from around the world and of all faiths and backgrounds.” He said the International Services Office will provide assistance to affected students and staff and update community members with new information as it becomes available.
While students with a valid visa should be allowed to enter the United States, they “may face increased scrutiny” and be denied admittance, LeBlanc wrote. An Iranian student, who was set to obtain his master’s degree in applied economics, was refused a visa in January 2017 following the first issuance of the travel ban.
LeBlanc said external immigration counsel is available to provide free legal advice to anyone who may be affected.