Information on Immigration Policies

Wellesley Is Committed to Supporting Our Community Members Amid Changing Immigration Policy 

Resources and Policy Updates to Help Inform the Wellesley College Community on Immigration 

Immigration

Important Updates

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11/12/2019 Government Must Have Reasonable Suspicion of Digital Contraband Before Searching People’s Electronic Devices at the U.S. Border

Boston, MA - In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional. Read more.

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11/04/2019 Continuation of Documentation for Beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status Designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a Federal Register notice extending the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through Jan. 4, 2021.

The notice automatically extends the validity of Employment Authorization Documents; Forms I-797, Notice of Action; and Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (collectively, TPS-related documentation). For more information, see the notice and the TPS page on the USCIS website.

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10/28/2019 TPS Work Permits for El Salvadorans Extended Through January 2021

DHS announced that the administration is extending validity of work permits for Salvadorans with TPS through January 4, 2021. The administration is also providing Salvadorans with TPS an additional 365 days after the conclusion of TPS-related lawsuits to repatriate to their home country.

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10/4/2019 Wellesley signs Amicus Brief in defense of DACA.

Wellesley joins 165 higher education institutions in signing an Amicus Brief in defense of DACA.

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10/04/2019 President Trump issues a proclamation by which immigrants must have approved health care insurance within 30 days of entry.

President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of immigrants who “will financially burden the U.S. healthcare system," requiring immigrants to have approved health care insurance within 30 days of entry. This rule is effective on November 3, 2019. Read more about the rule.

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9/30/2019 Following public outcry, USCIS resumed consideration for non-military action requests

Non-military "deferred action" is a form of temporary relief from deportation for immigrants facing special and often life-threatening circumstances. Read more about the announcement.

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09/16/2019 Wellesley College signs a letter of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM) expressing concerns regarding delays to visa processing and other issues.

The letter was sent to the Massachusetts Congregational Delegation and expressed concerns regarding the delays to visa processing for international students, requests for Optional Practical training, and other issues. The letter discussed the negative impact of these practices on the regional economy and its ability to attract new talent.

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09/11/2019 Three federal district judges issue injunctions against the U.S's Citizenship and Immigration Services's public charge rule.

Federal judges in three states—New York, California and Washington—have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, preventing it from taking effect on October 15. The rule would bar millions of immigrants from obtaining legal status.

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08/14/2019 Department of Homeland Security published a final rule on public charge grounds of inadmissibility.

On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule on public charge grounds of inadmissibility. Unless litigation stops implementation of the rule, it will go into effect on October 14, 2019. To learn more, please visit the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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07/02/2019 Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens (I-864s)

On May 23, 2019, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens. As part of USCIS’ implementation of this memorandum, USCIS officers will now be required to remind individuals at their adjustment of status interviews of their sponsors’ responsibilities under existing law and regulations. This new Memorandum is part of the President’s directive to enforce the public charge ground of inadmissibility.

As background, most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants must submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, when they apply for status as a lawful permanent resident. The individual executing the affidavit of support, whether sponsor, substitute sponsor, or joint sponsor, agrees to accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the intending immigrant who applies for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.

Since Dec. 19, 1997, federal law has required an immigrant’s sponsor to reimburse any benefit granting entity in the event the sponsored immigrant applies for or receives means-tested public benefits. The law also requires that, if a benefit-granting entity is notified that a sponsored immigrant is receiving a means-tested public benefit, the benefit-granting entity request reimbursement from the sponsor(s). The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 states that when an individual with an affidavit of support applies for a federal means-tested benefit, the income and resources of the sponsor and the sponsor’s spouse are deemed to be income and resources when determining the immigrant’s eligibility for the benefit.

More information.

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07/02/2019 Increased Fees for International Students, Scholars, Exchange Visitors, and SEVP-Certified Schools

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finalized changes to fees charged by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to international students, exchange visitors and SEVP-certified schools. The new fees took effect June 24, 2019.

Fee increases include:

  • The I-901 SEVIS Fee for F and M international students increased from $200 to $350.
  • DHS maintained the $35 I-901 SEVIS Fee for J exchange visitors in the au pair, camp counselor, and summer work travel program participant categories, but increased the full I-901 SEVIS Fee for other J exchange visitors from $180 to $220.
  • The SEVP school certification petition fee for initial certification increased from $1,700 to $3,000.

New fees include:

  • A $1,250 fee for SEVP-certified schools filing a petition for recertification.
  • A $675 fee when schools file the Form I-290B, “Notice of Appeal or Motion.”
  • DHS maintained the $655 fee for an initial school site visit but will also charge this fee when a SEVP-certified school changes its physical location or adds a new physical location or campus to its Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.”

Regulation requires all prospective international students, scholars, and exchange visitors to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before the U.S. Department of State issues a visa. Students and exchange visitors who paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee prior to the fee implementation date, but before they obtain a visa or enter the United States, will not need to pay the difference between the new fee and the old fee. Students and exchange visitors will continue to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee on FMJfee.com. Schools will continue to pay all fees related to the Form I-17 at Pay.gov. Should a school file an initial certification or recertification petition, petition update or Form I-290B, and it is not adjudicated before the fee implementation date, the school will not be required to pay the new or increased fee retroactively.

More information.

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06/04/2019 Treasury and Commerce Implement Changes to Cuba Sanctions Rules

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) unveiled amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further implement the President’s foreign policy on Cuba. These amendments complement changes to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR). These regulatory changes were announced on April 17, 2019 and include restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba.

Please read the press release and visit the Cuba sanctions resource page to help understand the decision and its impact.

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05/10/2019 Continuation of Documentation for Beneficiaries of TPS Designations for Nepal and Honduras

The TPS designations of Nepal and Honduras will remain in effect, as required by the order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California adopting the parties' stipulation to stay proceedings in Bhattarai v. Nielsen, No. 19-cv-00731 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 12, 2019), pending final disposition of the Government's appeal of the preliminary injunction order in Ramos v. Nielsen enjoining implementation and enforcement of the determinations to terminate the TPS designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador, or by other order of the court. DHS will not terminate TPS for Honduras or Nepal pending final disposition of the Ramos appeal, including through any additional appellate channels in which relief may be sought, or by other order of the court. Information on the status of the order to stay proceedings and the Ramos v. Nielsen appeal is available at http://uscis.gov/tps.

Please read the full notice to help understand the decision and its impact.

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05/06/2019 Injunction Issued on Unlawful Presence Policy for F-1 and J-1 Visa Holders

The US Court grants an injunction, blocking the August 9, 2018 Policy Memorandum: “Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants.” Several colleges had filed a lawsuit in October 2018 against the Department of Homeland Security arguing that Unlawful Presence memo was unlawful because it did not go through the required regulatory process, the policy change was arbitrary and capricious, it conflicted with the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act that created the concept of unlawful presence, and violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The Court therefore concluded that, under the circumstances of this case, a nationwide preliminary injunction is appropriate. Defendant United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shall be enjoined from enforcing the policy set forth in the August 2018 Policy Memorandum, in all its applications nationwide, pending resolution of this lawsuit. With this injunction and until further order of the Court, we revert back to the previous rules which had been in operation for over 20 years. That is, in the event that USCIS formally finds a violation of F-1 status, the student would only begin accruing unlawful presence the day after the decision is made.

Update courtesy the website of Iandoli, Desai, and Cronin.

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03/08/2019 DHS Extends TPS for South Sudan

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen has announced her determination that an extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for South Sudan is warranted pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. After carefully reviewing conditions in South Sudan with interagency partners, Secretary Nielsen determined the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support South Sudan’s current designation for TPS continue to exist. Therefore, pursuant to the statute, she has extended South Sudan’s TPS designation for 18 months.

Current beneficiaries under South Sudan’s TPS designation will be eligible to re-register for an extension of their status for 18 months, through November 2, 2020. Prior to the conclusion of the 18-month extension, the Secretary will review conditions in South Sudan to determine whether the TPS designation should be extended again or terminated.

The decision to extend TPS for South Sudan was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s designation is based. Following careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an interagency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the conditions supporting South Sudan’s designation for TPS continue to exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be extended.

There are 84 South Sudan TPS beneficiaries. This 18-month extension of South Sudan’s designation for TPS permits current beneficiaries under South Sudan’s TPS designation to re-register for TPS and remain in the United States with work authorization through November 2, 2020. To be eligible for TPS under South Sudan’s current designation, along with meeting the other eligibility requirements, individuals must have continuously resided in the United States since January 25, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since May 3, 2016.

Further details about this extension for TPS, including information about the re-registration process and employment authorization documents, will appear in a Federal Register notice.

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03/05/2019 Updates on Unlawful Presence Memo

As previously reported, USCIS published its finalized Unlawful Presence Memo regarding students and certain scholars, referred to as F, J, and M nonimmigrants. This change in USCIS policy regarding the accrual of unlawful presence for F, J, and M nonimmigrants not only has an immediate effect on students and exchange visitors and their dependents, but for those unaware of a violation of status, the resulting effect can be devastating and long lasting.

Under the new policy, unlawful presence begins to accrue 1) the day after a status violation, if the violation occurs on or after August 9, 2018; or 2) on August 9, 2018, if the violation occurred prior to August 9, 2018.

After the student has been unlawfully present for 180 consecutive days, the student is barred from re-entering the U.S. for three years, and after being unlawfully present for a year, the student is barred from re-entry for a decade. 180 days has now passed from August 9, 2018. While there is pending litigation, the court has granted a temporary restraining order barring the application of the USCIS unlawful presence policy, specific only to the two individual named plaintiffs.

Should you have concerns regarding the unlawful presence policy, please feel free to reach out and schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys (info@iandoli.com). Read more.

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03/01/2019 USCIS Notice on Extension of TPS Documentation for Beneficiaries from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador

USCIS notice announcing the automatic extension of TPS documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador until 1/2/20 in order to ensure continued compliance with the preliminary injunction in Ramos v. Nielsen. (84 FR 7103, 3/1/19).

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02/26/2019 U.S. Embassy in Bogota Begins Processing Venezuelan Immigrant Visas

The U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela has suspended routine visa services due to the ordered departure of non-emergency personnel. Nonimmigrant visa applications may be submitted at an Embassy or Consulate outside of Venezuela. The U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia has been designated as the primary site to process immigrant visas for residents of Venezuela. Read more.

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02/15/2019 Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) reintroduce the Higher Education Dream Act of 2019.

This bill would prohibit institutions that receive federal funds from refusing to admit, enroll, or grant in-state tuition benefits to qualified students based on their immigration status. It would also expand federal financial aid opportunities to DREAMers.

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02/11/2019 TPS Holders from Honduras, Nepal Sue Trump: Bhattarai v. Nielsen

Six adults with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and two U.S. citizen children of TPS holders filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to stop the unlawful termination of TPS for over 100,000 TPS holders from Honduras and Nepal and prevent the separation of tens of thousands of U.S. citizen children from their TPS-holder parents.

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02/04/2019 Changes to H-1B Lottery Process.

In the Fall, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a Merit-Based Rule for More Effective and Efficient H-1B Visa Program, which would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions subject to the regular cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period. The proposed rule would also reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption, changing the process so that the 65,000 "Regular cap" lottery is run first, followed by the 20,000 "Master's cap" lottery.

DHS posted on January 30, 2019 for public inspection, a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption.

  • The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption. The rule will go into effect on April 1, 2019 for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season.
  • The rule also introduces the electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. However, USCIS will be suspending the electronic registration requirement for this cap season to complete user testing and ensure the system and process are fully functional.
  • Once implemented, the electronic registration requirement will require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period. Only those whose registrations are selected will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition.

USCIS will begin accepting H-1B cap petitions for FY 2020 on April 1, 2019.

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02/04/2019 No Action on Administration's Request to Expedite DACA Ruling.

As of Tuesday January 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court had taken no action on a November 2018 request by the Trump Administration to expedite a ruling on the court decisions that keep the DACA program in place. As a result, it is increasingly likely that the earliest the Supreme Court would hear the case – if at all – is in its new term that starts October 2019. If that prediction holds true, DACA protections will likely remain in place under current court rulings through at least the end of 2019.

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02/04/2019 Federal District Court Issues a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the "Unlawful Presence" Challenge.

On August 9, 2018, USCIS published its finalized Unlawful Presence Memo regarding students and certain scholars, referred to as F, J, and M nonimmigrants. This change in USCIS policy regarding the accrual of unlawful presence for F, J, and M nonimmigrants not only has an immediate effect on students and exchange visitors and their dependents, but for those unaware of a violation of status, the resulting effect can be devastating and long lasting.

On October 23, 2018, a group of higher education institutions challenged the Unlawful Presence policy change that could open up more international students to harsh immigration penalties, and filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court (Guilford College v. Neilsen, 10/23/18) asserting that the policy change will hurt both the students and American universities.

This past January 28, 2019, the court granted a temporary restraining order, barring application of the new USCIS unlawful presence policy to the two individual named plaintiffs. The TRO does not offer protection yet to other persons from the effects of the unlawful presence memorandum.

A hearing has been set for arguments on the merits on March 26, 2019.

Read here.

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11/09/2018 White House issues new rules pertaining to asylum

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Friday, November 9, 2018, to go into effect on November 10 to deny asylum to immigrants who do not enter the country through an authorized port of entry. These new rules aim to dismantle the protections afforded by the Refugee Act of 1980 that state that individuals and families can apply to asylum regardless of how she or he enters the country.   According to the Boston Bar Association “under the new rules, those who cross the border will have to choose between waiting at already overcrowded ports of entry, returning to potentially unsafe conditions in their home countries, or crossing between ports and thereby forfeiting the opportunity to apply for asylum.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued in federal court in Northern California to stop the regulations.

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10/03/2018 DV-2020 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration

The DV-2020 diversity visa lottery submission period opens on October 3 at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) and closes on November 6 at 12:00 p.m. (EST). Additional information on eligible countries and other eligibility criteria can be found in the  September 25, 2018, Federal Register notice at 83 FR 48499. Traditionally, the U.S. State Department does not update its Electronic Diversity Visa Applicant Entry System until the registration period opens.

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08/15/2018 USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for Certain Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

A policy memorandum effective September 11, 2018 gives USCIS adjudicators the discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny in case where the request does not include the necessary evidence or the evidence does not meet eligibility. This policy does not apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requests received after that date. Additional information is available at USCIS updates and policy website.

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08/09/2018 Memorandum of Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J and M Nonimmigrants

On August 9, 2018, a Policy Memorandum on “Accrual of Unlawful Presence a F, J, and M Nonimmigrants went into effect. This memo marks a change in the way in which periods of unlawful presence are calculated for students and exchange visitors who remain in the country pass the completion of their academic or training program. Under this new policy the date in which the individual begins to accrue unlawful presence is not tied to an official determination but to the information entered by the school/training sponsor in SEVIS. Thus, it is very important for students and exchange visitors to carefully review the information contained in their SEVIS record and correct any discrepancies. Individuals and their dependents over the age of 18 years’ old who accrue time of unlawful presence might be bar from entering the US anything between 3 and 10 years.  

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06/26/2018 Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban, ruling that the Sept. 24, 2017, proclamation that currently applies to seven countries—Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen—was within the president’s constitutional authority. NASFA describes how travel by nationals of each country is affected.

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02/26/2018 Supreme Court announces it will not take up the DACA case at this time

The case returns to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California to follow the normal appeals process. The ruling could take place this summer.

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02/02/2018 DHS Announces Extension of TPS for Syria

DHS announced that Syrians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status will be eligible to re-register for an extension of status for 18 months, through 9/30/19. There are approximately 7,000 Syrian TPS beneficiaries.

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01/13/2018 USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.

USCIS will again be adjudicating DACA renewals under the same terms in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017. USCIS will not be accepting initial applications from those who have never been granted DACA nor will it accept advance parole applications from DACA recipients. If one previously had DACA, but it expired before September 5, 2016, DACA must be requested as an initial request, rather than as a renewal.

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01/11/2018 The President's Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, of which President Paula Johnson is a founding member, sent a letter to Congressional leaders on the issue of DACA.

As reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the President's Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration's letter to Congress said in part, "Changes to immigration laws that more properly belong in a comprehensive immigration reform measure deserve more thoughtful deliberation, consideration and negotiation than are feasible in the rapidly closing window of time available to address this problem."

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01/10/2018 U.S. District Judge blocks DACA phaseout

Unless halted by a higher court, a ruling issued by U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco will allow former DACA recipients who failed to renew by an October 5 deadline a chance to submit renewal applications and will also require the administration to allow renewal of applications expiring in the future.

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01/08/2018 Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announces her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador.

The decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador has a delayed effective date of 18 months before the designation terminates on September 9, 2019. Holders of TPS from El Salvador who wish to maintain their TPS and Employment Authorization Documents through 9/9/19 must re-register for TPS in accordance with the procedures set forth in the notice. The 60-day re-registration period runs from 1/18/18 through 3/19/18.

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12/15/2017 President Johnson joins the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration as one of the founding presidents and chancellors.

This group is an alliance of American college and university leaders dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities. We support policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented and international students on our campuses.

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12/15/2017 DHS notices on TPS designation for Nicaragua and Honduras

DHS notice that the designation of Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will terminate on 1/5/19. Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who wish to maintain TPS through 1/5/19 must re-register between 12/15/17 and 2/13/18.

DHS notice that the period of designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras has been automatically extended for six months through 7/5/18. The 60-day re-registration period runs from 12/15/17 through 2/13/18.

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12/01/2017 Legal counsel is available to Wellesley College community members.

Details of the arrangements were shared by email on 12/1 to students, faculty and staff. Beyond the resources provided by the College, community members may choose to visit free legal clinics like those arranged by Irish International Immigrant Center or local organizations such as Metrowest Legal Services (Wellesley College is in their service area) and Greater Boston Legal Services. Information to support questions about DACA and TPS designation can be found under Resources.

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12/08/2017 Travel Ban 3.0 in Effect

On December 8, 2017, four days after the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Administration's application for a stay of the 9th Circuit's injunction, the Departments of State and Homeland Security fully implemented President Trump's latest travel ban, commonly referred to as Travel Ban 3.0. The Supreme Court's action allows the travel ban to proceed while litigation challenging the ban on statutory and constitutional grounds proceeds before the 9th and 4th Circuit Courts of Appeal. The restrictions imposed by the Trump Administration apply to citizens of eight countries and are summarized by the State Department in a chart.

Per its terms, Travel Ban 3.0 does not apply to a citizen of one of the named countries who:

  1. was in the United States on the effective date of Travel Ban 3.0-September 24 (or October 18 if the foreign national had a bona fide connection to a person or entity within the U.S. on September 24) regardless of immigration status;
  2.  had a valid visa on the applicable effective date;
  3. qualified for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of the Travel Ban, which relates to visas and travel documents which were revoked by Travel Ban 1.0 and 2.0;
  4. is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States;
  5. is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date;
  6. has a document other than a visa, valid on the applicable effective date for that applicant or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as advance parole;
  7. is a dual national traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  8. is traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa; except certain Venezuelan government officials and their family members traveling on a diplomatic-type B-1, B-2, or B1/B2 visas; and,
  9. has been granted asylum; admitted to the United States as a refugee; or has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Unlike Travel Ban 1.0 and 2.0, Travel Ban 3.0 imposes indefinite restrictions. Litigation pending at the 9th and 4th Circuits is expected to reach the Supreme Court in expedited fashion and may even be heard by the Court this term.

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9/24/2017 Administration issues Presidential Proclamation on screening and vetting entry into the United States

On September 24, 2017, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats.” The proclamation is an update of the March 6, 2017 restrictions on travel by citizens of designated countries. It removes Sudan from the list of countries with travel restrictions and adds North Korea, Chad and Venezuela to the existing list that includes Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. The Department of State has posted an Alert that explains which visa types are being suspended from issuance to citizens from each of the designated countries. The White House has issued a Fact Sheet on the proclamation.

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09/05/2017 Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the “wind down” of DACA, affecting nearly 800,000 people by March 5, 2018

President Johnson responded to the Trump Administration's decision, affirming steadfast support for “Dreamers.”

Here is what we know now:

  1. DACA recipients should file for renewal by October 5, 2017 if their status will expire before March 5, 2018.
  2. This website for nearby legal services and guide posted by the E4FC may help DACA recipients identify backup options.
  3. This recently announced fund will provide scholarships to 2,000+ Dreamers to pay for DACA renewals by the October 5, 2017 deadline. For individuals in Massachusetts who would like to file for an extension of DACA, this is a list of local DACA Community Workshops.
  4. DACA recipients should continue to advocate through groups like the National Immigration Law Center for Congress to act.

For more information on why and how the DACA program is being phased out see the DHS' Frequently Asked Questions and the Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA). For more information and resources available on the web, see the Resources tab.

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03/21/2017 Department of Homeland Security bans laptops and other electronic devices in carry-on bags from 10 overseas airports

DHS has issued a Fact Sheet and Q&A related to its announcement to immediately ban laptops and other electronic devices in carry-ons for flights from 10 specific airports overseas. The ban applies to all passengers flying from the designated airports.

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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.

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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.

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03/06/2017 Administration issues Presidential Memorandum on Heightened Screening and Vetting

On March 6, 2017 the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum on heightened screening and vetting of applications for Visas and other immigration benefits. PDF version of the Memo is available and resources can be found on the NAFSA website.

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03/06/2017 Administration issues new 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. Wellesley will continue to monitor the situation and update our webpage.

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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.

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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.

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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.

See the Department of Homeland Security website.

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.

 

The Changing Landscape of Immigration: Beyond the Headlines

Feb 27, 2019, 12:30–1:45 PM (Alumnae Hall Ballroom)

Much of immigration policy is quietly affecting our communities. This panel will offer points of view we don't usually hear in the news and will bring the national conversation to our local community. The panel will discuss various topics including DACA, asylum, changing immigration policies, and ways to be involved. They will discuss these issues through the lens of law, social justice, history, and advocacy.

This event is co-sponsored by the Slater International Center and the Wellesley Immigration working group.

Legal Assist For Faculty & Staff on Immigration Issues

Feb 5, 2019, 9:00–1:00 PM and Feb 6, 2019, 12:00 PM–4:00 PM (Clapp Library Room 158/159)

Free 30 onsite minute consultations with immigration attorney.

Legal Assist for Faculty & Staff on Immigration Issues

Friday, March 16, 2018, 8:30-12:30 pm (Lulu Campus Center 415)

Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with an immigration attorney (code 2018). This is a confidential way to getting your questions answered. Spanish speaking consultants are available.

Town Hall Meeting with the Working Group on Immigration Policy

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 6:00-7:15 pm (Acorns House, student-only event)

An opportunity for students to learn about the working group, connect with its members, and engage in dialogue about ways to support the community on issues of immigration.

Immigration Law and Policy Presentation

Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 4:00 pm (Library Lecture Room)

This presentation will address recent changes to immigration law and policy, including DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and TPS (Temporary Protected Status), with the conversation led by expert immigration attorney Elizabeth Goss of The Law Office of Goss & Associates. We seek to provide a space for students, faculty, and staff to understand the current and evolving landscape of these policies and to answer your questions.

Know Your Rights

“Know Your Rights” Presentation

Thursday, February 1, 2018, 4:00–4:30 pm (Library Lecture Room)

A presentation and Q&A session for Wellesley community members to get the facts about their rights and have their questions answered by expert legal counsel.

Free Law Clinic with MetroWest Legal Services

4:30–7 pm (Clapp Library)

All members of the Wellesley community—students, faculty, and staff—are invited and welcomed to sign-up for one of eighteen 20-minute private consultations on immigration law with an expert lawyer from MetroWest Legal Services. Sign-up is a two-step process and may be done anonymously. Limited drop-in consultations will also be available.

Please contact Carolyn Slaboden (faculty and staff) or Karen Pabon of Slater International Center (students) if you have any questions.

Fall 2017

Teaching in/from Freedom: Supporting Undocumented Students and Their Families in the Classroom and Beyond

Thursday, November 30, 2017, 4:30-6pm (Library Lecture Room)
Lorgia Garcí­a Peña, Harvard University

Lorgia Garcí­a Peña, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of History and Literature at Harvard University, is a Latino/a Studies scholar who specializes in ethnic, race, and national belonging. Co-founder of Freedom University Georgia, a tuition-free institution for undocumented students banned from public higher education in Georgia, she will discuss the ways educational institutions can successfully support undocumented students.

Lives Still in Limbo: DACAmented and Navigating Uncertain Futures

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 12:30-2pm (PNE 239)
Lunch will be provided by the President’s Office
Roberto Gonzales, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Having conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Roberto Gonzales, Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, will discuss his book Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America. He will also explore lessons learned from the National UnDACAmented Research Project, reflecting surveys of nearly 2,700 undocumented adults and in-depth interviews with 500 individuals in President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Spring 2017 

A Day Without Immigrants

Wellesley students have planned a campus action in support of immigrants’ rights and the nationwide strike, “A Day Without Immigrants” on May 1, 2017. Poster-making begins on Severance Green at 10 am followed by an 11 am march to Morton Park in Wellesley and community rally at 11:30 am. The Working Group on Immigration Policy supports the student-led action and encourages the community to participate. For those looking for other ways to support the movement, see these suggestions.

Cross Movement Solidarity: A Workshop with Shannon Al-Wakeel of the Muslim Justice League

Tuesday, April 25, 4:30–5:30 pm, Harambee House
Wellesley College community members are invited to participate in this workshop to learn about concrete ways to support and build solidarity with and among diverse communities affected by both the new executive orders and the ongoing “countering violent extremism” (CVE) programs in Greater Boston. 
Presented in collaboration with the Office of the President, the Working Group on Immigration Policy, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Wellesley in MetroWest: Building Connections Between Campus and Community

Tuesday, April 18, 4:15–6:15 pm, Alumnae Ballroom
The Project for Public Leadership and Action invites Wellesley students, faculty, and staff to meet community organizers and advocates from Framingham, Mass., to discuss current community initiatives and potential Wellesley partnerships. Speakers represent organizations such as MetroWest Worker Center/Casa de Trabajadores, MetroWest Health Foundation, Out MetroWest, and Framingham Public Schools.
Presented in collaboration with the Office of the President, the Working Group on Immigration Policy and the Project for Public Leadership and Action.

Religious Freedom and Discrimination: A Conversation with the Multifaith Council in Light of the Executive Orders

Wednesday, April 12, 12:30–1:30 pm, Multifaith Center
Organized and facilitated by students on the Multifaith Council, this is a student-only conversation on the impact of the executive orders on religious minorities.
Presented in collaboration with the Office of the President, the Working Group on Immigration Policy, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Town Hall Meeting: Understanding the Executive Order: A Conversation with an Immigration Attorney

Wednesday, April 12, 5:00–6:00 pm, Library Lecture Room
A facilitated town hall with a leading immigration attorney designed to help students, staff, and faculty understand how to navigate the new executive orders.
Presented in collaboration with the Office of the President, the Working Group on Immigration Policy, and Slater International Center.

Town Hall Meeting: Know Your Rights: A Workshop with Attorney Aliya Khalidi '07

Thursday, April 6, 4:30–5:30 pm, Library Lecture Room
This workshop is designed to help Wellesley community members understand their rights under the new executive orders.
Presented in collaboration with the Office of the President, the Working Group on Immigration Policy, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

 

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.

To facilitate communication with the working group, we include the names and contact information of representative members below:

Maheen Akram ’20
Email: makram@wellesley.edu

Mared Alicea-Westort
Assistant Dean of Intercultural Education
Advisor to Latinx Students and Mixed Race Students Organizations
Email: maliceaw@wellesley.edu

Teofilo Barbalho
Administrative Assistant, Office of Intercultural Education
Email: tbarbalh@wellesley.edu

Lisa Barbin
Chief of Police
Email: lbarbin@wellesley.edu

Keira Bunn
Marketing Communications Director, Communications & Public Affairs
Email: kbunn@wellesley.edu

Catia Confortini
Associate Professor and Co-Director, Peace & Justice Studies Program
Email: cconfort@wellesley.edu

Robin Cook-Nobles
Director of Counseling Services and Dean of the Office of Intercultural Education
Email: rcooknob@wellesley.edu

Gloria Figueroa
Coffee Shop Attendant, Wang Food Service
Email: gfiguer2@wellesley.edu

Laura Grattan
Associate Professor of Political Science
Email: lgrattan@wellesley.edu

Michael Jeffries
Associate Professor of American Studies
Email: mjeffrie@wellesley.edu

Daniela Kreimerman Arroyo ’19
Email: dkreimer@wellesley.edu

Elizabeth Mandeville
Director of Exploration and Experiential Learning, Wellesley Career Education
Email: emandevi@wellesley.edu

Ines Maturan Sendoya
Chair of Working Group on the Effects of Immigration Policy on the Wellesley Community Associate Dean of Students for Inclusion and Engagement, Office of Intercultural Education
Email: imaturan@wellesley.edu

Jennifer Musto
Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies
Email: jmusto@wellesley.edu

Amira Quraishi
Muslim Chaplain
Email: aquraish@wellesley.edu

Marlen Renderos ’21
Email: mrendero@wellesley.edu

Tana Ruegamer
Director of Slater International Center and International Student and Scholar Advisor
Email: truegame@wellesley.edu

Carolyn Slaboden
Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and EO
Email: cslaboden@wellesley.edu

Tiffany Steinwert
Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life
Email: tsteinwe@wellesley.edu

Cammi Valdez
Program Director, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program
Email: cvaldez2@wellesley.edu

Gaby Varela ’20
Email: gvarela@wellesley.edu

Martha Zamora
Community Director, Residence Life
Email: mzamora@wellesley.edu

 

 

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

On March 6, 2017 the White House issued a new Executive Order on immigration, "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States." You can read the Executive Order and Fact Sheet.

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
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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.

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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 cslaboden@wellesley.edu.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What legal resources are available?

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts
Matthew Segal, Legal Director
211 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02110
United States

Email: info@aclum.org
Phone: (617) 482-3170 X 100
Fax: (617) 451-0009
Web: http://www.aclum.org

 

FAQs for the Wellesley Community

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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

Department of Justice

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 slatercenter@wellesley.edu.

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 cslaboden@wellesley.edu.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 cslaboden@wellesley.edu.

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.

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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.

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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.

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