Response to Executive Order on Immigration

To the Williams Community,

On Friday President Trump signed an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It declared numerous changes in American immigration policy, including an immediate 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It also sharply restricts the admission of refugees and imposes a religious test for refugees from certain countries. The full text of the order can be found many places online, including here.

The news is still fresh, and events are unfolding quickly. But it’s already clear that this action has great potential to harm students, faculty, staff and their families, both at Williams and around the world. We’re doing everything we can to support those in our community who’ve been placed at risk.

Our staff worked quickly to ascertain whether any members of the campus community, including students from the Center for Development Economics, were outside the country when the order went into effect. I’m relieved to report that our students are all accounted for. We’re still working to confirm the same for faculty and staff, and will keep you informed. A special thank you to Assistant Dean Ninah Pretto for advising international students to be cautious about traveling abroad during this time. Even so, the order places great stress on international students, faculty, and staff; those who are immigrants or children of immigrants; many Muslim members of our community, and others. We’ll continue to assess the situation as it develops and take appropriate action to support those affected. If you need or want support we have many resources available: please contact the dean’s office, our chaplains, the Davis Center or Counseling Services for help.

The president’s order is inconsistent with Williams’ essential values. It conflicts with our non-discrimination policy, which forbids discrimination on the basis of national origin, religion, and other identity attributes. On Saturday night a federal judge issued a stay on deportations under the order, and a number of organizations and individuals have announced plans to challenge the order’s constitutionality in the courts.

This is a distressing time, but Williams prepares us for moments when moral courage is required. We can—and must—show the world we’re capable of something greater and nobler than fear.


Adam Falk