Responding to Border and Immigration Policies

By Aaron Nisenson

The AAUP continues to combat a range of border and immigration policies that impede the interna­tional exchange of scholarly work and have a chilling effect on US campuses.

On September 5, the Trump administration announced its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which pro­vides renewable, two-year work and residency permits to immi­grants brought to this country as children. A large number of individuals granted DACA status are enrolled in colleges or uni­versities. The AAUP issued a statement denouncing the admin­istration’s decision to end DACA and subsequently endorsed a letter urging congressional lead­ers to pass legislation that would offer permanent protection to individuals currently participat­ing in the program. More than seventy-five associations signed the community letter, which was initiated by the American Coun­cil on Education (ACE). As ACE president Ted Mitchell wrote in the letter, “Colleges and universi­ties have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends. Despite the challenges they face, they have made an incredible mark on our country and economy. They should continue to be able to do so. If we are unable to protect these Dreamers, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who only seek to contribute their best to America.”

The AAUP also joined with the ACE and other higher education groups in an amicus brief oppos­ing the administration’s travel ban. The brief, which was sub­mitted to the US Supreme Court in September, argues that people from the countries identified in the ban should not be barred or deterred from entering the United States and contributing to our col­leges and universities. As the brief notes, the ban has caused specific harm to higher education. From the moment the executive order containing the ban was signed, foreign scholars were deterred from accepting faculty positions in the United States. Some scholars have pulled out of academic con­ferences here, either because they were directly affected by the ban or because they were concerned about its impact. The brief empha­sizes the international exchange of scholarly work and explains how the ban “jeopardizes the vital contributions made by foreign students, scholars, and faculty by telling the world in the starkest terms that American colleges and universities are no longer receptive to them.”