Immigrants and refugees: The MIAC perspective

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MIAC responses to the travel ban.

By Abby Petersen

President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order Jan. 27 barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days. The executive order also barred all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days, according to The New York Times. A federal judge blocked President Trump’s order Feb. 3, and Bethel’s President Jay Barnes sent a statement to the Bethel community Feb. 13 in regards to the executive order.

Where does Bethel’s statement line up with other colleges and universities in the MIAC? The Clarion did the homework. Here are highlights from the administration’s statements to the 12 MIAC schools.

AUGSBURG COLLEGE:

“Augsburg is a community that cares deeply about our students, staff and faculty.  Many members of our campus community are impacted by these actions. We are focused intently on the educational and work experience of our students, staff, and faculty, their lives in the world and their promise. We have a long-standing commitment to hospitality and justice and we will resist changes that run against our values. We will not stand by and allow our values to be trodden upon. It’s a personal commitment we make and it is one shared by all of us at Augsburg. We live it out every day. We don’t step backward, we step forward, and we are proud of this community because of that.”

BETHEL UNIVERSITY:

“As a university we are committed to caring for students and employees who are affected by changes in immigration laws or policies or practices that discriminate against people based on their ethnicity, religion, or place of birth. We want Bethel to be a caring and safe place for those who are vulnerable to such forms of discrimination. We will follow the privacy restrictions that are part of the Family Rights and Privacy Act. We will expect appropriate legal documentation such as warrants when information is requested by outside authorities. We will continue to offer admission and to provide financial aid to students who are vulnerable. We will also partner with Bethel alumni and friends to connect students to legal resources that specialize in immigration and refugee issues. We will do everything we can to support our students and employees during these challenging times because of our commitment to Christ and our love for our neighbors.”

CARLETON COLLEGE:

“Should we learn that any Carleton student, faculty, or staff member is stranded in the United States by virtue of this executive action, we will work with such individuals to provide housing and other necessary support. We also stand ready to connect such individuals with proper legal representation to help them navigate these murky shoals.”

COLLEGE OF SAINT BENEDICT:

“Our commitment to community resonates throughout all that we do at the College of Saint Benedict. We define and express community in an inclusive, Benedictine way that welcomes, recognizes and engages all. Chapter 53 of The Rule of Benedict provides clear guidance for us: “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, who said: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Matthew 25:35).” This guidance extends to all those who seek our hospitality, regardless of their background.

As America considers its place in a changing world, we must remind ourselves of our commitment to global education and internationalization. Without voices and representation from around the globe, and without our students going out into the world to let their lights shine, we cannot fulfill our mission. We seek to create a world wherein individuals travel and exchange ideas across borders and perspectives for the common good.”

CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY:

“Mission and commitment lead to habits of mind and heart. And so, as a college founded by immigrants, we know that people new in culture and custom bring wondrous gifts of experience and insight—and change their community for the better. And we discovered long since that the chance to leave campus and study in places far away and unfamiliar can inspire students to dream a world of shared knowledge and resources. This August, seeking to live out our mission and commitments more fully, we launched the initiative for greater inclusiveness in those who live, learn, and work here. We know that open communities open minds. At this moment, we are called to proclaim the fundamental virtue of a community diverse in background and understanding.”

GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGE:

“At Gustavus, we are committed to the wellbeing of each member of our community, and we vigorously uphold the principles of equity and justice in our work and our pursuits. We respect differences among people and proclaim the importance and benefits of diversity and inclusion. As a College founded by immigrants, we stand on a rich heritage and vital mission that directs us to be a community of persons from diverse backgrounds who respect and affirm the dignity of all people. We encourage and support our students to work toward a just and peaceful world and we strive to prepare our students for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society. This is Gustavus.”

HAMLINE UNIVERSITY:

“An executive order, issued by the White House, imposing a temporary travel ban on people who are from seven primarily Muslim countries, has led to chaos, outrage, and protests throughout the world. Such a ban rises against all that we, in higher education, and all that we, at Hamline, believe in with regard to global education, inclusion, and cultural connectivity. It seeks to erase and erode the ties we have built and are building with people throughout the world, and it shamefully discriminates against members of our community and of the broader global community on the basis of race, religion, and national origin.”

MACALESTER COLLEGE:

“It is also impossible to see them [Trump’s new immigration policies] as anything other than antithetical to the mission of a college that, to cite our own words, embraces “internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society.” Again, one is free to assert that this is the wrong mission, but it is our mission, and until and unless it is altered we are bound to abide by it and to acknowledge that these new policies fly in its face. They are an assault on the work that we are called upon to do.”

ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY:

“Saint John’s University, as an institution, will certainly help our students in almost any way we can to pursue and achieve their educational dreams, but only in rare circumstances does this include taking a public and official university stance on a matter of policy or politics.  Sometimes no position is truly the best position.

ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY (QUOTED FROM A STATEMENT BY THE ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES):

Pope Francis has said that “authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.” As ACCU gathers this weekend in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the value of diversity within Catholic higher education, we reaffirm the commitment of our institutions to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments that embrace people of all faiths and cultures. Catholic higher education was founded precisely to serve the children of Catholic immigrants who in their own time were excluded from higher education. This is a legacy that we proudly pledge to continue.”

ST. OLAF COLLEGE:

“We enroll 256 “non-resident aliens” in our student body, a number that has risen dramatically in recent years through our partnership with the Davis World College philanthropy and through other programs. There are also 33 U.S. Permanent Residents (green card holders) and 98 students with dual citizenship, one of those being U.S. It is essential for St. Olaf to fulfill its mission that we have access to international students and scholars and that they have access to the College. It is core to our values that people of the world are able to move freely in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.”

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS:

St. Thomas didn’t respond to the Clarion’s requests for information.

2017-2018 Editor In Chief of The Clarion. Most passionate about social and environmental justice, especially in Native American communities. Likes her coffee iced, her books thick and her stories edited. | ajp87848@bethel.edu

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