Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding President Trump’s new executive order that temporarily prohibits the issuing of new visas to citizens of six countries.
“While the revised executive order is more limited in scope than the first one, the impact is significant. The effect of this new order goes well beyond just the higher education community, but as a public university association we are particularly aware of how this will impact campuses. During the 2015-16 school year, more than 15,450 students and over 2,100 scholars from the six countries targeted in this ban studied and conducted research at U.S. universities. The pipeline of new students and scholars from those countries – many of whom are in the midst of the college application process — is now cut off. Public research universities are also concerned that the new order could have a chilling effect on students and scholars in other countries who are considering whether to study and conduct research in the United States or elsewhere.
“Our nation’s universities thrive in part due to their ability to connect throughout the world. This new executive order undermines that ability. Public research universities have historically benefited from attracting the best and brightest of all nationalities and religions to study and research on their campuses because these institutions are widely regarded as preeminent and our country is seen as friendly to immigrants. This standing in the world has been indispensable as a tool of diplomacy, including proliferation of our values abroad and as an economic and innovation boon to the United States.
“It’s worth noting that all six of the 2016 U.S.-based Nobel Prize winners in economics and scientific fields were foreign born. The world’s most talented scientists are contributing to the advancement of our nation’s interests at our universities — searching for cures to better treat and eliminate diseases, creating technological innovations that will create new companies and jobs, and improving our overall quality of life. And although international students only make up 5 percent of the postsecondary students in our country, they contribute billions to our economy. Almost half of U.S. economic growth over the last 50 years can be attributed to scientific advances and technical innovations. Immigrants have played a large role in that and all Americans have benefitted.
“Our nation must be careful to send the right messages about our values or risk endangering much of what makes this country so special. Every president’s most solemn responsibility is to protect the American people, but the United States — for its own future — can and must remain welcoming to those who will strengthen our nation while pursuing their dreams of a better life. There will be much public discussion about this new order. As the administration continues to review its policies, it must keep in mind that this order will be seen abroad as adding additional uncertainty about how welcoming the United States is to foreign students and scholars.”