To the members of the MIT community,
I am delighted to share the news that the two undergraduates previously blocked from returning because of the January 27 executive order on immigration were able to come back to us this afternoon. It is a great relief to be able to welcome them home to MIT!
Thanks to all
Please join me in thanking everyone – staff, students, faculty and alumni – who worked long and hard over the past week to support these students and return them to campus. In particular, I want to recognize Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo, and Senior Vice President and Secretary of the Corporation Greg Morgan for their leadership, and to thank the dozens of staff members in many offices who have worked this situation from every angle over the past week.
We owe special thanks to David Elwell, Associate Dean and Director of the International Students Office, and Penny Rosser, Director of the International Scholars Office, who are still working around the clock to support and advise the much larger group of students and scholars concerned about immediate and long-term consequences of the executive order and related actions.
Where things stand for other individuals in our community
The return of these two undergraduates hinged on a court order issued last Sunday affecting certain categories of individuals blocked from the US by the executive order. That court order – a "temporary stay" – made it legal for such individuals to fly into Logan until February 5.
We are grateful that this temporary measure enabled our two undergraduates to return. Unfortunately, others in our community continue to face serious problems. We know of one current MIT researcher and a visiting student who remain blocked from returning to the US by the executive order, one traveling researcher whose family member is barred and eight other researchers recently invited to come to MIT who now cannot join us. We are in direct contact with these individuals to continue to explore ways we can help.
If you are a member of our community directly affected by the executive order and you have not reached out to us so far, I urge you to do so now:
International Students Office, David Elwell [firstname.lastname@example.org]
International Scholars Office, Penny Rosser [email@example.com]
We can all be glad that our affected undergraduates have overcome their immediate immigration difficulties and are back with us. I am proud that the community stood behind them and reached out to help. If they or others continue to face such challenges in the future, MIT will be by their side.
With relief and gratitude,
L. Rafael Reif