BY ISN STAFF | July 9, 2020

Jesuit university presidents and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities have spoken out in response to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) announcement on July 6 that international students attending U.S. universities would be forced to return home if their institution is not holding courses in-person this fall. 

“This new guidance comes just months before our schools prepare to re-open for a new academic year, undermining our ability to provide continuity in instruction for international students, and ignoring the realities that colleges and universities are facing in trying to adjust to a landscape that changes by the day,” said AJCU in a statement issued today in which they noted that there are over 17,000 international students who attend Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. The statement closed with a plea to the Trump Administration to rescind the ICE guidance, which they stated, “derails” the “mission-driven efforts” of their association members to provide a quality Jesuit education to international students. 

Leaders of individual Jesuit institutions issued statements as well:

Fred Pestello, Ph.D., President, Saint Louis University [full statement]

“You are always welcome at Saint Louis University. Your cultures, perspectives, and lived experiences make our University a better place to live, work, learn and worship. You belong here. We want you here.” 

John J. DeDegioia, Ph.D., President, Georgetown University [full statement]

“For more than two centuries, our identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution has called us to engage the world, to build bridges, and to contribute to the work of the common good. It has never been more urgent or more important for us to sustain and advance the global character of our University, and we will work to uphold and honor that responsibility today.”

Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., President, Seattle University [full statement]

“The DHS decision moves in the wrong direction and runs counter to the commitments and values we strive to uphold as a Jesuit university that prioritizes caring for each individual student and supporting you to the fullest extent possible in your educational journey. International students are greatly valued as members of our community and make significant contributions to the life of the university, and they should have the same opportunities as all other students to continue their education. The discriminatory order from DHS could harm the academic aspirations of hundreds of Seattle U students who enhance our educational mission and campus community.”

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President, Gonzaga University [full statement]

“International students are a vital part of the American higher education community, and we are proud to be one of the universities that international students have chosen for their educational programs for many years. As a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic university, we belong to an international community of teachers, scholars and researchers that work tirelessly to advance knowledge and understanding in service to a world that is in constant need of tangible solutions to complex problems.

Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco [full statement]

“This week’s ICE order is causing anxiety for our international students as well as for their faculty, classmates, advisers, and mentors. It is a decision that runs counter to the commitments and values we foster and uphold as a Jesuit university. It is a decision that is in opposition to our priorities to care for each individual student and support them to the fullest extent possible in their educational journey. International students are greatly valued at USF, make extraordinary contributions to our community, and enrich the learning environment for all their peers. Our international students should have the same learning options as our domestic students in the course of their educational progress.

[Editor’s Note: Additional information is being added to this story as it becomes available. Please send information about president’s statements to info@ignatiansolidarity.net]

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