Responding to the White House Executive Order

The following message was shared with the Saint Anselm College campus community on Monday, January 30. In addition, I have co-signed statements from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (excerpt/link below), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, in which nearly 50 higher education associations present a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly requesting a meeting to ensure any efforts to safeguard our nation do not interfere with our nation’s long tradition of educating students from around the world.

On Friday afternoon, the White House issued an Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which addresses new standards for refugee, immigrant, and nonimmigrant entry into the United States.

At present, the ultimate outcome of this order (and subsequent orders and legislation) is uncertain and it may take months for clear policies to develop; however, we know that this may directly impact members of the Anselmian community, from students, faculty and staff to alumni and friends. We advise that those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen legally residing in the United States avoid travel outside the U.S. during this period if possible and consult an immigration attorney if travel is necessary.

Saint Anselm College is an institution that values the contributions of our international students, faculty and staff deeply. We are committed to providing support and resources to those in need, and to upholding our mission and values of diversity and inclusiveness.

In that spirit, today I am in our nation’s capital, participating in the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). I would like to share with you an excerpt from the statement released yesterday by this organization:

"Pope Francis has said that 'authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.' As ACCU gathers…to celebrate the value of diversity within Catholic higher education, we reaffirm the commitment of our institutions to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments that embrace people of all faiths and cultures. Catholic higher education was founded precisely to serve the children of Catholic immigrants who in their own time were excluded from higher education. This is a legacy that we proudly pledge to continue."

Indeed, hospitality is not only our greatest security against hatred and violence, but also one of the core Benedictine values which we as Anselmians seek always to live. I know that you will join me in keeping the immigrants and refugees of every nation in your thoughts and prayers today and every day.