Information on Immigration Policies
Important Immigration Updates
03/21/2017 Department of Homeland Security bans laptops and other electronic devices in carry-on bags from 10 overseas airports
03/17/2017 DOS Cable Implements Heightened Screening and Vetting of Visa Applications
A March 17, 2017 Department of State cable [17 State 25814] directs U.S. consulates on implementing Section 2 of a November 6, 2017 Presidential Memorandum, which provides: "The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, as permitted by law, implement protocols and procedures as soon as practicable that in their judgment will enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and all other immigration benefits, so as to increase the safety and security of the American people." Resources on the cable are available on the NAFSA website.
03/16/2017 Federal Court issues TRO stopping enforcement of March 6 Executive Order on Immigration
On March 6, 2017 the White House issued a new Executive Order on immigration. PDF versions of the Executive Order and accompanying Fact Sheet are available. The Order was set to go into effect on March 16, 2017, but on March 15 the U.S. District Court in the State of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the federal government from enforcing the Executive Order nationwide. On March 16, 2017 the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of the March 6 Order nationwide. Wellesley has created a webpage with information about the immigration-related Executive Orders issued by the new administration.
03/06/2017 Administration issues Presidential Memorandum on Heightened Screening and Vetting
03/06/2017 Administration issues new Executive Order on immigration
02/10/2017 Federal Court temporarily prohibits enforcement of White House Executive Order
On Thursday, February 9, 2017 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government's request for an emergency stay on the District Court's temporary restraining order. The TRO prevents the enforcement of certain sections of the January 27 Executive Order, including the provision that prevented individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S., and the provision suspending the admission of refugees. The government could seek a new review by the Circuit Court, or could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Because the situation is fluid, it is still advisable for individuals from the seven countries to not travel outside the U.S. Wellesley has posted FAQs discussing the Executive Order on our website.
01/31/2017 White House issues Executive Order on immigration
On January 27, 2017 the White House issued an Executive Order that, among other things, suspended admission to the U.S. for individuals from certain countries for a period of 90 days. Wellesley has posted FAQs to help understand the Order and its impact.
01/03/2017 USCIS publishes new versions of Forms, including Form I-765 and Form I-539 – prior versions only accepted until February 21, 2017.
On December 23, 2016 USCIS published a rule in the Federal Register removing the NSEERS program.
NSEERS – the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. The Department of Homeland Security stopped using the program, which required immigrants from 25 Muslim-majority, Arab and South Asian countries to register their arrival to and departure from the U.S., in 2011. The U.S. Government Publishing Office has more information.
In February 2017, President Johnson convened the Working Group on the Effects of Immigration Policy on the Wellesley Community in direct response to the Executive Order involving refugees and immigrants. In a statement to the community on January 27, 2017, President Johnson stated:
At every step in our response to this situation, we must remember that this is not abstraction; the consequences are disturbingly real for so many individuals and their families. We are committed to upholding our values and protecting our community, the community that makes us strong.
The charge of the working group, as described by President Johnson was to:
Identify and to help the college to respond to the needs of students and other members of the community who may be feeling vulnerable in light of the quickly changing political climate and regulations related to immigration and refugee status
Advise the Senior Leadership of the College on how to best support members of the college community to uphold the commitment to a residential learning environment free from hostility and fear
The working group consists of 20 faculty, staff and students across the college representing junior and senior faculty across academic departments and including college divisions and programs such as the Slater International Center, Human Resources, Intercultural Education, Public Safety, Career Education, Provost’s Office and the Alumnae Association.
The college has continually supported the needs and experiences of immigrant and refugee members of the community, and the working group continues in that spirit. Since its inception, the working group has developed connections and initiated conversations with impacted community members and groups to ensure that the goals of the group are rooted in community needs and experiences. We have identified some key areas that deserve our attention and have made progress in those areas through the following ways:
Security and Well-Being: Most immediately, we have worked with colleagues across the college to ensure the safety and well-being of students and the broader community, particularly those who may feel vulnerable during this time. For our students who may experience difficulty traveling during this period, we provided opportunities for them to remain on campus through spring break.
Policy and Communication: We continue to monitor developments in immigration policies that may impact travel, employment, faculty research, and the general livelihood of community members and their families. We have enhanced our website communication about external policy developments and the resources available to students, faculty and staff.
Community Education and Engagement: Community members have questions about the changing nature of policies and its impact on immigrant and refugee communities. This is an opportunity to enhance our knowledge, promote dialogue on issues that are important to us and provide avenues for action and engagement. To this end, we have created a series of town hall meetings and workshops this spring to build awareness about immigration policies and encourage dialogue and engagement in these issues.
Advocacy: We have continued President Johnson’s fall 2016 efforts to identify and provide resources that support the Wellesley community such as opportunities offered by alumnae and access to immigration counsel. We have also identified a need to provide greater support for at-risk scholarship—scholarship that is impeded by travel restrictions or reductions in federal funding. We continue to explore the ways Wellesley can collaborate with other institutions to advocate policies and legislation that support immigrant and refugee communities.
As policies evolve and develop, so too will the emphasis and direction of this working group. We remain committed to supporting those who are impacted and made vulnerable by immigration policies and also seek to build greater awareness and engagement to uphold our values and support our community.
Chair, Working Group on the Effects of Immigration Policy on the Wellesley Community
Associate Professor of Education
To facilitate communication with the working group, we include the names and contact information of representative members below:
Mared Alicea-Westort, Assistant Dean of Intercultural Education, Advisor to Latina Students and Advisor to Fusion Student Organization
Robbin Chapman, Associate Provost and Academic Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Lecturer, Education Department
Catia Confortini, Associate Professor of Peace and Justice Studies
Tricia Diggins, Senior Gardens Horticulturist, Botanic Gardens
Soo Hong, Associate Professor of Education
Michael Jeffries, Associate Professor of American Studies
Daniela Kreimerman Arroyo ‘19
Missy Shea, Executive Director, Wellesley College Alumnae Association
Karen Zuffante Pabon, Director of Slater International Center/International Students & Scholar Advisor
Robin Cook-Nobles, Director of Counseling Service and Dean of OICE
Tiffany Steinwert, Dean, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
- March 6, 2017 Presidential Memorandum
- March 6, 2017 Executive Order
- Jan 27, 2017 Executive Order
March 6, 2017 Presidential Memorandum
On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General with the subject line: Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits, Ensuring Enforcement of All Laws for Entry into the United States, and Increasing Transparency among Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and for the American People. The memorandum was published in the Federal Register on April 3, 2017, at 81 FR 16279. NAFSA, the Association of International Educators has a list of resources related to the March 6 Memo and the related March 17, 2017 Cable, implementing the Memo.
The premise of the memorandum is that "immediate implementation of additional heightened screening and vetting protocols and procedures" is needed while the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Director of National Intelligence conduct the review called for by Section 2(a) of Executive Order 13780, i.e, the review to "identify whether, and if so what, additional information will be needed from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual is not a security or public-safety threat."
Sections 2 and 3 of the March 6 memorandum task the agencies with implementing such heightened screening, vetting, and enforcement "as permitted by law" and "as soon as practicable."
Section 2 directs the agencies to implement protocols and procedures "that in their judgment will enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and all other immigration benefits," focusing on:
"(a) preventing the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who may aid, support, or commit violent, criminal, or terrorist acts; and
(b) ensuring the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits."
Section 3 of the memorandum directs the agencies:
- "to rigorously enforce all existing grounds of inadmissibility and to ensure subsequent compliance with related laws after admission."
- "to issue new rules, regulations, or guidance (collectively, rules), as appropriate, to enforce laws relating to such grounds of inadmissibility and subsequent compliance."
- "To the extent that the Secretary of Homeland Security issues such new rules, the heads of all other relevant executive departments and agencies shall, as necessary and appropriate, issue new rules that conform to them. Such new rules shall supersede any previous rules to the extent of any conflict."
March 6, 2017 Executive Order
The Order was set to go into effect on March 16, 2017, but on March 15 the U.S. District Court in the State of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the federal government from enforcing the Executive Order nationwide. On March 16, 2017 the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of the March 6 Order nationwide.
The March 6 Executive Order rescinds the January 27, 2017 Executive Order. Among its provisions, the new Order:
- Imposes a new 90-day bar on admission of individuals from six countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen;
- Removes Iraq from the list of designated countries;
- Exempts U.S. permanent residents, dual citizens with citizenship in a designated country and a third country, and individuals with a valid U.S. visa for entry to the U.S.;
- Imposes a 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, but removes the indefinite ban on refugees from Syria;
- Calls for expedited completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system
Who is impacted by the March 6, 2017 Order?
According to the Order and Fact Sheet, the new entry bar will NOT apply to the following individuals who are citizens or nationals of the six countries:
- U.S. lawful permanent residents in possession of a valid green card or temporary I-551 stamp
- Nonimmigrants (i.e. H-1B, F-1, J-1, etc.) who are in the United States in lawful status on March 16, 2017
- Holders of a valid nonimmigrant visa that is valid for reentry to the U.S.
- Dual citizens of one of the six countries and the United States
- Dual citizens of one of the six countries and another country not on the list of six who enter the United States on the passport from the non-designated country
- Individuals who are traveling on a diplomatic visa, NATO visa, C-2, G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 visas
Individuals from one of the six countries who do not fall within one of the above exceptions would be subject to the entry bar for a period of at least 90 days from the date of the Order.
Are dual citizens with citizenship in one of the six countries and another country (other than the U.S.) exempt?
Yes, the March 6 Order states that individuals with dual citizenship in one of the six countries and another country (other than the U.S.) are exempt. Because this situation is fluid, and airlines and individual U.S. ports of entry may not be implementing the Order consistently, Wellesley recommends that individuals with dual citizenship contact Karen Zuffante Pabon, at 781-283-2084 or kpabon(at)wellesley.edu prior to making any international travel plans, including to Canada. Faculty and staff should also feel free to reach out to the provost’s office at 781-283-3583 or to Carolyn Slaboden, assistant vice president of human resources and equal opportunity, at 781-283-2216 or email@example.com.
Will the list of countries be expanded under the March 6 Order?
The March 6 Order includes provisions that would allow the government to expand the list of designated countries. The Wellesley Working Group on Immigration and Refugee Policy will continue to monitor this and provide any updates as they become available.
January 27, 2017 Executive Order
The January 27, 2017 Order has been held up in the courts, and has not been enforced. The March 6 Order expressly rescinds the January 27 Order.
Among its provisions, the Executive Order suspended entry to the United States "of immigrants and nonimmigrants" from seven countries for a period of 90 days from the date the Order was signed. The seven countries included Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Although the Order covered U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders), following significant public protest and a lawsuit by the ACLU, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly released a statement invoking an exception to the entry ban for U.S. lawful permanent residents on a case-by-case basis. A January 29, 2017 DHS Fact Sheet includes the language of the statement.
Litigation related to the January 27, 2017 Executive Order
A federal court judge in Seattle, Washington issued a temporary restraining order on continued implementation of the January 27, 2017 Executive Order nationwide. On Thursday, February 9, 2017 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government's request for an emergency stay on the District Court's temporary restraining order. The TRO prevents the enforcement of certain sections of the January 27 Executive Order, including the provision that prevented individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S., and the provision suspending the admission of refugees. While the government had the option to seek review by the Circuit Court, or appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, it instead issued the March 6 Executive Order expressly rescinding the January 27 Order.
Are applications for U.S. immigration benefits impacted by the Executive Order?
On February 3, 2017 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its website with a statement that the agency will continue to adjudicate applications for benefits regardless of country of origin. There has been no indication that USCIS will change this policy in light of the March 6 Order.
What should international students, scholars, faculty and staff from countries other than the list of six consider with regard to travel?
The Wellesley Working Group on Immigration and Refugee Policy will continue to monitor what is happening and issue updated information as it becomes available.
If you are from a country OTHER than one of the six listed and you have international travel plans, please ensure your passport is valid for reentry, that you hold the appropriate, valid visa in your passport, and that you carry with you all required immigration documents (Form I-20 for F-1 students, DS-2019 form for J-1 Exchange Visitors, H-1B approval notice for H-1B employees, etc.).
If you are traveling outside the U.S., and also need to apply for a new visa prior to returning to the U.S., you may experience additional delays during the visa application process, including administrative processing delays that can take several weeks to be completed. Please be sure to check with the U.S. embassy where you will apply for the visa for required documentation and timelines. You can find estimated wait times for visa applications on the State Department website.
What are the other immigration-related Orders?
On January 25, 2017 the White House issued two Executive Orders on border security and interior enforcement that will significantly expand deportations and detention of undocumented immigrants. The White House, in a memo released on February 20, 2017, stated that recipients of DACA would be exempt from these provisions. There are a number of organizations with helpful information and resources on their websites about these Executive Orders and the memos released by the Department of Homeland Security on February 20, 2017.
Helpful websites discussing the immigration-related Executive Orders
What about DACA?
DACA recipients are not impacted by the March 6 Order. For more information on DACA and undocumented students, please refer to the Slater FAQs on DACA students.
FAQs for the Wellesley Community
How does this March 6 Executive Order and the Presidential Memorandum affect my immigration status in the U.S.?
Agencies have begun to implement the memorandum. Below are the most up to date agency implementations.
Department of State
A March 17, 2017 Department of State cable [17 State 25814] directs U.S. consulates on implementing Section 2 of the memorandum, calling for the following:
- Increased focus on thoroughly examining visa applications for not only security-based factors, but all other eligibility factors as well; Consular officers should not hesitate to deny a visa of applicants whom the officer believes may not be eligible or may fail to abide by the requirements of the particular visa category. (paragraph 4)
- Consular posts are directed to develop a list of criteria identifying sets of post applicant populations warranting increased scrutiny because of law enforcement and intelligence factors; If an applicant is within that set of criteria, and is otherwise eligible for the visa, officers should consider requesting a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO). (paragraphs 6-10)
- Mandatory social media check for applicants "present in a territory at the time it was controlled by ISIS". Consular officers are instructed to refer applicants who may have ties to ISIS or other terrorist organizations or have "ever been present in an ISIS-controlled territory" to the consular Fraud Prevention Unit for a mandatory social media review, and to consider the results of this review during any subsequent SAO request. (paragraph 10)
- Mandatory Donkey SAO for Iraqi nationals with presence in territory at the time it was controlled by ISIS. As its name implies, a Donkey SAO may take longer to resolve than other types of SAOs. (paragraphs 11-12)
- Consular posts directed to generally not schedule more than 120 visa interviews per consular adjudicator/per day; this may cause interview appointment backlogs to rise. (paragraph 13)
- These are preliminary measures. Additional screening measures may be introduced based on the conclusions of the interagency working groups mandated by Executive Order 13780. (paragraph 5)
Department of Homeland Security
- Immigration enforcement raids that have been reported by the press
- Notices published by USCIS, such as:
Department of Justice
- April 3, 2017. Justice Department Cautions Employers Seeking H-1B Visas Not to Discriminate Against U.S. Workers
Changes in policy or guidance and Executive Orders may happen more quickly and may take effect immediately, such as the Executive Order and Memorandum of March 6. Slater International Center will monitor any decisions impacting our student and scholar populations and will provide updated information as it is available through this website and via email. Our office makes announcements to international students through the Slater International Center Google Group – if you would like to subscribe, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty and staff should also feel free to reach out to the provost’s office at 781-283-3583 or to Carolyn Slaboden, assistant vice president of human resources and equal opportunity, at 781-283-2216 or email@example.com.
For any faculty or staff member who may wish to seek confidential legal and counseling support, the Wellesley College Employee Assistance program is available to work with you free of charge.
Can I travel outside the U.S., and renew my visa?
For the immediate and near future, Slater International Center suggests careful consideration of international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry. Should you have concerns about immediate or essential international travel or visa renewal, contact the Slater International Center to speak with an Adviser.
Will I still have OPT/ STEM OPT available when I graduate? Will the H-1B program be cancelled?
There are currently no changes being made to these programs. Be aware that changes in laws or regulations take time and will have advance warning. Changes in policy or guidance and executive orders may happen more quickly and may take effect immediately. Slater International Center will be monitoring and new developments and will inform the community of any updates that could have an impact.
Where can I find support if I have immigration or concerns? Support for anxiety or stress?
Please visit the Slater International Center with any F-1 or J-1 immigration concerns or questions. Our staff provides a welcoming, safe environment to explore your concerns related to your immigration status. For complex issues beyond our scope, we can offer guidance in finding a referral for an immigration attorney. Faculty and staff should also feel free to reach out to the provost’s office at 781-283-3583 or to Carolyn Slaboden, assistant vice president of human resources and equal opportunity, at 781-283-2216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any faculty or staff member who may wish to seek confidential legal and counseling support, the Wellesley College Employee Assistance program is available to work with you free of charge.
Enrolled Wellesley students can access resources through the Stone Center including individual confidential counseling appointments, groups, self-help tools, and more.
Wellesley employees can find support through the Employees Assistance Program which provides free, confidential counseling and referrals.
What can I do if I or someone I know is the target of, or witness to, a hate crime or hate-motivated act? Where can I report an incident of harassment or violence?
If you have witnessed or experienced intimidation, harassment, or violence against individuals and targeted groups you can file a report with Wellesley Campus Police. These crimes are taken very seriously by police and are investigated to the fullest extent of the law.
How can I avoid causing any problems with my ability to stay in the U.S.?
At any time, it is important to avoid any violations of your F-1 or J-1 status. In addition to meeting course enrollment requirements, reporting any change in address, and only working with proper authorization, individuals in non-immigrant status are expected to refrain from breaking any U.S., or Massachusetts state laws.
If you choose to participate in protests, please understand that an arrest can have serious immigration implications. Arrests or convictions that involve violence, drugs, or alcohol can have very serious and long-lasting impacts on current and future immigration status. While some states now permit the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana, it is still an illegal controlled substance at the federal level. Moreover, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can result in fines, jail time, visa cancellation, or deportation.
If you are arrested or have any legal concerns, please contact the Slater International Center immediately. In such cases, we urge you to seek advice from a qualified immigration attorney.
What can I do if immigration agents show up at my door?
Know your rights. See these recommendations by the ACLU.
Wellesley’s immigration resources
- NAFSA: links to resources for students and scholars who have questions about their civil rights while in the U.S.
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): Immigration 2017 – A New President and Congress
- Helping Low Income Immigrants Find Legal Help: immigrationlawhelp.org
- Boston Diocese Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigration Services: (617) 464-8100
- Irish International Immigrant Center: (617) 542-7654
- Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR): (617) 742-9296
- Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA): (617) 350-5480