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February 01, 2017

Colleges and universities are strongly opposing President Trump's recent executive actions on immigration, saying they fear it will have a chilling effect.

The American Council on Education and nearly 50 other trade associations on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, urging him to preserve American higher education as the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest.

Since it went into effect on Friday, Kelly has defended the rollout of Trump's travel ban, which blocked scores of students and faculty from seven Muslim-majority countries linked to concerns about terrorism.

The letter stresses the importance of these scholars, noting that they boost the nation's economy and support job creation.

“The roughly one million international students that attend U.S. colleges and universities add to this country’s intellectual and cultural vibrancy,” ACE President Molly Corbett Broad wrote.

While Trump’s 90-day freeze on visas may be designed to protect national security, Broad said it may, in the end, undermine academic exchanges, making the country more vulnerable to violent extremism.

“We are confident that it is possible to create policies that secure our nation from those who wish to harm us, while also welcoming those who seek to study, conduct research and scholarship, and contribute their knowledge and talents to our nation’s higher education institutions, economy and overall security,” Broad said.

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