February 7, 2017 – In embracing its mission as a global university and upholding its Jesuit traditions, Georgetown is providing resources to students and scholars affected by President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigrant, nonimmigrant and refugee entry into the United States.
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Feb. 4 halting the executive order. The U.S. Department of Justice subsequently appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Like many universities across the country, Georgetown is monitoring the situation on a day-to-day basis in order to provide support and guidance to faculty, students, scholars and staff.
“The implications of this order are significant and concerning,” Georgetown president John J. DeGioia said in a message to the Georgetown community on Jan 29. “We are an institution that values the contributions of our international students, staff and faculty, and we are deeply committed to interreligious dialogue and providing a context in which members of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to practice their faith.”
Georgetown has welcomed students from all over the world since its inception.
The Jesuit tradition of cura personalis or “care of the whole person” inspires the university to value individualized attention to the needs of others, distinct respect for unique circumstances and concerns and appreciation for individual gifts and insights.
A page of Frequently Asked Questions on the university’s Office of Global Services website will be continually updated and information sessions have and will continue to be held with affected students, faculty, university leaders and staff.
The Georgetown community may also send an email to Rachel Rubin, Georgetown’s director of International Student & Scholar Services in the Office of Global Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 202-687-5867 with any concerns they may have.
“In this moment of challenge and uncertainty, we have an ever more urgent responsibility to care for one another, to empathize with those in need, to dedicate our knowledge to service, and to place above all, the betterment of humankind,” DeGioia said in his Jan. 29 message.
Georgetown hosted an information session on Feb. 2 for international students.
At that meeting, the university announced that it had retained a law firm to provide free legal advice to Georgetown community members from the seven countries named in the Executive Order – Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen or who are refugees from other countries.
Individuals from these countries who have questions about how the Executive Order impacts them are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with Rubin, who can connect affected community members to attorneys for legal advice.
“We are helping members of our community balance the benefits and potential risks of global travel for students and reaching out to prospective students to help answer questions,” Provost Robert Groves explained. “We will continue to admit the most qualified candidates regardless of their country of citizenship.”
Georgetown has arranged for undocumented students or those who fall under the 2012 immigration policy action known as DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (which allows some students who entered the country as minors a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation) to receive free legal advice from attorneys at Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services.
This fall, the university appointed a part-time advisor, Arelis Palacios, to serve undocumented and DACA students and help them access university and external services. Georgetown’s solidarity statement on undocumented students, along with resources available to such students, may be accessed here.
Higher Education Advocacy
Since the order was issued, DeGioia, who serves as chair of the board for the American Council on Education (ACE), has joined other leading universities in raising concerns about the Executive Order and emphasizing the importance of international students and faculty to our community.
A fourth letter signed by the university to the administration from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities may be viewed here.
Host of Services
The university provides a wide variety of resources and services and general information for international students, including:
• Georgetown academic, health and housing resources
• Resources for daily life in Washington D.C.
• Financial resources regarding tuition payment plans, loans and scholarships
• Career services for students who wish to remain in the United States
• Resources for partners and families of international students
• Information on how to report a bias-related incident