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As you have likely heard, the President has issued a second executive order on immigration rules, which goes into effect on March 16, 2017. The new order revokes and replaces the prior order, which was issued on January 27, 2017. However, several components of the original executive order remain in place, including a 90-day suspension of entry into the United States of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The refugee program remains suspended for 120 days, but there is no longer an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. Among several other changes in the new executive order, Iraq has been removed from the list of countries for which special immigration and travel rules are in effect. In addition, the new order specifies certain groups that are not subject to the ban, most notably legal permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) and people who currently hold a valid visa or had a valid visa previous to the January 27 order.
As I said in my January 30 memo regarding the previous executive order, international students, faculty, and staff are valued members of the Montgomery College community. We will continue to support access to education for all who seek it. Our classrooms and counseling centers will continue to be welcoming places where people of all origins are esteemed.
Since the immigration circumstances of people may be different, I encourage anyone with questions to visit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet here to examine carefully how the rule changes may impact individual cases. Answers to more specific questions by DHS can be found here. International students who have questions or concerns about their visa statuses should contact one of our campus international student coordinators. For those who need legal advice, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) has a directory of free and low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services. Montgomery County’s Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center has also posted some useful resources here.
I understand that Monday’s change does not alter the anxiety that many in our community feel about the changing climate around immigration. The College will continue to welcome students, faculty, and staff born abroad, and embrace the unique talents and perspectives they bring to the US. Our institution stands by its commitment to FERPA rules, which protect privacy, and our security policies around immigration inquiries as described in my first memo.
As our Board of Trustees articulated in its February 20 public statement, “Affirmation of Montgomery College Values—Affirming Montgomery College’s Commitment to Radical Inclusion,” the College is committed to maintaining educational spaces that are safe and secure from discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry. I remain personally dedicated to nurturing a culture of radical inclusion at the College.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. Thank you for your continuing support of our students and of one another.