WCFIA Responds to the Executive Order to Ban Refugees and Immigrants from Seven Majority Muslim Countries

January 31, 2017

As director and executive director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, we want to express solidarity with all the members of our community and other human beings who will be affected by this ill-considered executive order. This decision inflames existing tensions and represents an inexcusable attack against Muslims. It also violates our sense of communal living as well as fundamental human rights principles and obligations to protect refugees.

The executive order will affect our students, faculty, and our partners in many parts of the world. It defies the values, mission, and identity of our Center. As noted in President Faust’s response to the ban, Harvard’s teaching and research depend on the free flow of people.

We want to affirm to our students and colleagues our full support should they be directly affected by this order. We urge at-risk individuals to exercise caution in making travel plans that could lead to landing in the United States. Please consult the University website for updates on the situation.

We encourage members of the Harvard community to:

  • Register for Global Entry or similar expedited processing (if you are eligible), which is likely to facilitate border control passage.
  • Carry three additional documents when you travel if you are an international member of our community. One is a résumé or curriculum vitae. The second is a letter from a resident house dean, if a student, or department chair or school dean (in the smaller schools), if a professor, attesting to regular ongoing status at Harvard; this letter can be just a couple of sentences. The third is the contact information of a Harvard person (not merely a family member) who may be reached. Such documents may be helpful as the fate of individuals detained at airports is supposed to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

If you do travel abroad and are not permitted to return to the United States, you should contact Harvard Travel Assist at +1-617-998-0000 or travelassist@harvard.edu to immediately notify the University.

Also carry contact information for Harvard Global Support Services.

Michèle Lamont
Director, WCFIA
Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies

Theodore J. Gilman, PhD
Executive Director, WCFIA