Stanford’s support for our international and undocumented community

Recent events have brought anxiety, dismay and confusion for people in the academic community nationally and internationally as an executive order with new federal restrictions on travel to the United States was implemented.

A letter emailed Saturday evening to the Stanford community from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost John Etchemendy and incoming Provost Persis Drell expressed the university’s continuing support for all members of our community. The letter outlined Stanford’s response to the president’s executive order of January 27 barring entry to the United States for refugees and for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. In addition, the campus leaders have issued a statement, below, summarizing the key principles of the university’s support for international and undocumented students.

While information at the federal level continues to change, the university continues to reach out to members of the Stanford community most affected by the executive order to offer aid and advice.

The Bechtel International Center remains an ongoing resource for international students and scholars at Stanford who have questions or concerns. Vaden Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is collaborating with the Bechtel International Center and with the Markaz Resource Center to offer special drop-in hours during the next few weeks. Please check with the centers for details.

In addition, an informational meeting is being scheduled for this week for citizens of the countries designated in the executive order and other members of the Stanford Muslim community, featuring representatives from the Bechtel International Center, Stanford Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, the Markaz and others who will provide information and answer questions. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday evening at Stanford Law School, and further information will be available on the Bechtel International Center website.

The university and the law school also are coordinating outside pro bono legal counsel for individuals impacted by the new executive order.

In a series of statements since November (see list below), Stanford leaders have expressed key principles of the university’s commitment to its international community and to undocumented students. In a new statement Sunday that follows below, Stanford’s executive leadership summarizes and reinforces these principles.


Statement of Stanford leadership on immigration principles

As an academic institution and as a community, Stanford welcomes and embraces students and scholars from around the world who contribute immeasurably to our mission of education and discovery. Inclusion and nondiscrimination are core values of our community, and they extend to people from around the world regardless of citizenship or nationality. We recognize that those who set national immigration policy must account for national security considerations to keep our country safe. But policies that restrict the broad flow of people and ideas across national borders, or that have the effect or appearance of excluding people based on religion or ethnicity, are deeply antithetical to both our mission and our values.

As Stanford leaders, we wish to reiterate and emphasize the following key principles of our university’s support for our international scholars and undocumented students:

  • Stanford’s mission of research and teaching is deepened and enriched by students and scholars from around the world. The flow of students, educators and researchers across national borders is essential to our mission as an educational institution.
  • Stanford is committed to a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, faculty, staff and scholars, and it provides services and support to them without regard to their immigration status, religion, nationality, ethnicity or other characteristics.
  • The university keeps student and personnel records private. It does not share information with anyone, including law enforcement authorities, about immigration status, religion, nationality, ethnicity or other information about individual students unless presented with a subpoena or other legally binding requirement.
  • Immigration enforcement is the responsibility of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not the university or local law enforcement. The Stanford Department of Public Safety does not inquire about immigration status in the normal course of its duties and will not participate with other agencies in immigration enforcement activities unless legally required to do so.
  • Stanford treats undocumented students as domestic students in the admission process, assessing their applications under the same need-blind admission policy it uses for citizens of the United States. Stanford uses institutional funds to meet the full financial need of those undocumented students who are admitted.
  • Stanford has actively supported the DREAM Act legislation since its introduction in 2001, which would enable undocumented students to continue their education and apply for citizenship. Stanford also supports DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has allowed undocumented individuals who entered the United States as children to remain in the country without fear of deportation, and is among the more than 600 colleges and universities that have signed a letter in support of DACA.
  • Stanford has expressed its strong support for the BRIDGE Act, new bipartisan legislation that would preserve the protections for those who have remained in the United States under the DACA program, which is an executive action rather than a law.

As events unfold, the university intends to continue vigorously advocating before Congress, the Executive Branch, and beyond for policies consistent with its commitment to members of our community who are international, undocumented and those who are impacted by the recent executive order.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President

John Etchemendy, Provost

Persis Drell, incoming Provost


Chronology of statements from Stanford Leadership

Nov. 9 letter from campus leadership

Nov. 19 university statement on campus climate and immigration

Dec. 1 comments of Marc Tessier-Lavigne at Faculty Senate

Jan. 20 remarks of Persis Drell at “Reinvigorating Community” event

Jan. 26 comments of Marc Tessier-Lavigne at Faculty Senate

Jan. 28 letter from campus leadership on new administration travel restrictions

Jan. 29 summary of principles on immigration issues