Stanford continues working to provide support to international and immigrant communities
Stanford is working to provide information and services – and to continue emphasizing the university’s support for all members of the campus community – as events continue to unfold around federal immigration policy.
A working group with representatives from across the campus is meeting regularly to coordinate the university’s response to new developments and to put in place support for emerging needs in the campus community. The working group continues to move quickly to provide information resources, legal consultation, emotional health support and financial assistance to the Stanford community.
“National issues are having a very direct and personal impact on many communities within our campus, including but not limited to our international and immigrant communities,” said Stanford Provost Persis Drell. “We know this is a stressful time for many people. Our unwavering commitment is to do everything in our power to support and protect all members of our community.”
The federal administration on Monday issued a new executive order on immigration, rescinding and replacing one that was issued Jan. 27 but was blocked in court. The new order, which takes effect March 16, suspends entry to the United States for 90 days for residents of six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iraq was removed from the original list. The order applies to individuals from the six countries who are outside the United States as of March 16 and do not currently hold a valid visa; legal permanent residents of the United States are exempt from the order.
Undocumented immigrants also have been a focus of attention for the federal administration, which in recent days has announced new immigration enforcement memoranda that implement two other executive orders.
Stanford’s response to these immigration directives from Washington is not about taking partisan political positions, but rather about supporting the academic mission of the university, which depends upon the international exchange of people and ideas and the full participation of a diverse university community, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said.
“Several principles are important for us to reinforce continually,” Tessier-Lavigne said. “One is our support for each and every member of the Stanford community. Another is our commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas and viewpoints in an environment of mutual respect. And a third is our defense of the academic mission of the university – the search for the truth and the dissemination of knowledge – that is so important to our country and to our world.”
The president and provost have been meeting groups of students, faculty and staff across the campus to hear concerns and suggestions and to share information about the university’s response to national events.
Meanwhile, the campus working group has created a centralized website – immigration.stanford.edu – to provide ongoing information to the campus about new developments, support available to the community, travel guidance and other issues.
A full list of resources and contacts is available on the Getting Help and Support page at that website. Below are highlights of activities occurring at the university:
Information and support: The Bechtel International Center continues to serve as a first point of contact for all international students and scholars with questions and concerns about immigration issues. Stanford community members can get assistance by emailing the center at [email protected], attending drop-in advising sessions available weekdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or attending one of the open house advising sessions being held at Bechtel every Friday from 2 to 4 p.m.
“The Bechtel team remains on standby and committed to providing assistance to international students and scholars impacted by the travel ban,” said Shalini Bhutani, assistant vice provost and executive director of the Bechtel International Center. “We encourage anyone who has questions and concerns about how they may be impacted by these changes to get in touch with us.”
Legal assistance: The Bechtel International Center is collaborating with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic of Stanford Law School to connect Stanford students and scholars to legal assistance when needed. Individuals with immigration concerns related to the travel ban executive order should first contact the Bechtel International Center, which will connect individuals to attorneys for free consultations and advice. Undocumented students with legal questions can contact the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic directly for a free consultation.
“Since the new administration issued the immigration executive orders, we have provided know-your-rights sessions, consultations and connection to legal services for Stanford students and scholars,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, professor of law and director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. “This is part of our larger effort to defend immigrants’ rights through direct legal representation, broad-scale litigation, support at airports and other efforts on behalf of immigrant communities.”
Mental and emotional health support: Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Bechtel and the Markaz resource center for the Muslim community are providing expanded emotional and mental health support services to members of the campus community.
CAPS drop-in sessions are available at the Bechtel International Center on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. Group sessions and individual drop-in sessions are available each week at the Markaz, in coordination with CAPS. Counseling services also are available through the Faculty Staff Help Center and the Postdoc Assistance Program. Stanford’s community resource centers are also a source of support for many members of the community.
“Our staff in multiple parts of the university are coordinating continually to provide compassionate and effective support for our community,” said Greg Boardman, vice provost for student affairs. “We know that many students and others in our community are feeling threatened and vulnerable, and we want them to know that many forms of support and assistance are available.”
Federal advocacy: The university continues to work with peer institutions and national higher education associations on advocacy at the federal level for policies consistent with the university’s academic mission. Stanford continues to support DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the proposed BRIDGE Act that would place provisions of DACA into federal law.
In addition, Stanford will host Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of San Jose on Friday, March 24, for an afternoon session with international students and scholars to answer questions about the ongoing immigration debate in Washington, D.C. Lofgren is the ranking minority member on the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
“This continues to be a period of change and uncertainty at the federal level,” said David Demarest, vice president for public affairs. “We are working to keep the university informed about developing events in Washington and to partner with like-minded peers to advocate for the interests of our academic community.”
Stanford also joined two amicus briefs challenging the Jan. 27 executive order, focusing specifically on its impact on the academic mission and on the delivery of health care.
Financial assistance: Several sources of financial assistance are available for students with pressing needs, or for faculty seeking to continue funding for students affected by the executive order beyond a previously anticipated separation date from the university. More information is available on the immigration website.
Travel information: As spring break approaches, Stanford strongly recommends that international students and scholars carry their immigration documentation with them for both domestic and international travel. This documentation includes a passport, visa stamp, certificate of eligibility with a valid travel signature (I-20/DS-2019), an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) and/or a letter of Stanford appointment, if applicable.
Also, all students, faculty and staff traveling internationally are encouraged to register their travel plans with the Office of International Affairs. Registering allows Stanford to be aware of individuals who may need assistance if events occur that may jeopardize their safety, security, legal rights or health.