FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31 January 2017
GEO at UIUC Statement in Response to Immigration EO
To President Timothy Killeen and Chancellor Robert Jones,
We, the Graduate Employee Organization at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, are in solidarity with those affected by the immigration ban.
On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that will have devastating effects on citizens, immigrants, and refugees. The EO proposes a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to all nationals of seven Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. Because of the EO, more than 134 million people are now banned from entering the U.S. The EO has resulted in the dismissal or detainment of refugees, tourists, students, professionals, and even permanent residents at airports and ports of entry. This attempt at safeguarding the U.S. from “radical Islamic terror” conflates terrorism with Islam by painting all Muslims as potential terrorists. The EO also bans Syrian refugees and calls for new and more rigorous immigration screening, even though the U.S. already implements the most rigorous vetting of refugees in the world. These new procedures are unequivocally directed to make it difficult for refugees fleeing from predominantly Muslim countries to gain entry into the U.S.
This EO, together with other recent actions taken by the Trump administration, will adversely affect the University and Champaign-Urbana communities by making it harder for our students, professors, researchers, lecturers, administrators, staff, and all of their families, to live and work with a sense of safety and dignity. President Killeen and Chancellor Jones have repeatedly stated having a strong commitment to making this institution a “world-class university,” and Trump’s EO affects the very people whose labor makes this a world-class institution.
Our demands include, but are not limited to:
1. Demand that the University support the international community at the University of Illinois, including the students, visiting scholars, staff, and faculty who are affected by Trump’s Executive Order, which would prevent them from reentering the United States if they leave the country
2. Demand that the University work to provide affordable housing to those who have been affected by the Executive Order if they are unable to return to their countries of origin
3. Demand that the University provide accessible specialized mental health and counseling support to those who have been affected
4. Demand that University provides those affected by this ban the necessary legal assistance to respond to the Executive Order and any future action on immigration policy taken by the current administration at no cost to them or their families
5. Demand that the University provide any necessary resources to International Student and Scholar Services for them to assist those affected
6. Demand that the University maintain a policy of not disclosing the immigration status of those affiliated with it
7. Demand that the University coordinate with peer institutions on furthering its commitment to these goals, and advocate for international students in the United States, regardless of immigration status, nationality, race, or religion
Furthermore, we demand that the University administration publicly condemn this divisive ban and articulate a detailed plan of action to provide substantial protection and support to all members of our campus community. Prior to taking any actions, the University administration must include those who are directly affected in the development of this plan.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign