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February 2, 2017

Immigration ruling effect here unclear

Protestors opposing the Trump administration’s refugee ban marched on Forbes Avenue in Oakland Saturday. Photo by NJ Brown/University Times

Protestors opposing the Trump administration’s refugee ban marched on Forbes Avenue in Oakland Saturday.
Photo by NJ Brown/University Times


1st current issures (dragged)President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order eliminated some of the question marks regarding immigration policy under the new Republican administration.

In part, the order suspends indefinitely the entry of Syrian refugees and suspends for 90 days the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to individuals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen while a review is conducted to determine the information needed from any country to decide that an individual seeking entry “is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.” Countries that fail to provide the information requested could find their nationals barred “until compliance occurs.”

The full executive order is posted at

The effect on the University is difficult to measure.

According to the 2017 Pitt Fact Book, 3,113 international students from 108 countries were enrolled at Pitt in fall 2016. Of the top 10 countries of origin, Iran ranked No. 8 with 54 Pitt students.

In addition, three students from Iraq, two from Libya, one from Sudan and one from Syria were enrolled here in fall.

University officials would not elaborate on the numbers of faculty and staff from these nations nor the number of Pitt employees who are not U.S. citizens.

The executive order hasn’t changed University recruiting. Susan Rogers, vice chancellor for communications, earlier this week told the University Times: “At this point, and until there is more clarity regarding the situation, recruitment of faculty and students and other activities should proceed as usual.  We will continue to evaluate information as it becomes available.”


At least 75 Pitt faculty, postdocs, graduate students and researchers have added their signatures to the “Academics Against Immigration Executive Order” petition that has grown to more than 18,000 signatories, including at least 50 Nobel laureates, in opposing the president’s action.

The petition ( urges the president to reconsider the order on the grounds that it is discriminatory, detrimental to national interests and places undue burden on members of the community.

Locally, the president’s action sparked protests in Oakland and at Pittsburgh International Airport and prompted statements from university leaders, including Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne and Penn State.

In a Jan. 28 message to the Pitt community, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher stated: “I join others in the academic world who are condemning this executive order and calling for a sensible immigration policy that protects national security without discriminating against individuals and without incurring potential and profound harm to our nation’s system of higher education.

“The University of Pittsburgh has always viewed education and research as a global enterprise — one that is a vital part of our mission. Because of this, our vibrant community includes students, faculty, visiting scholars, family members and staff with ties to the countries covered by Friday’s executive order.”

He directed those with questions or concerns to contact the Office of International Services and urged anyone from the affected countries — regardless of their visa or residency status — to contact OIS before traveling outside the United States.

Information on the travel restrictions and FAQs are posted at
—Kimberly K. Barlow
Marty Levine

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