Princeton University advises students, scholars from banned Muslim-majority countries to defer travel

Princeton University has advised students and scholars who might be affected by the executive order by President Trump closing the nation’s border to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries to hold off from traveling outside the United States.

Asked if any scholars or students from the school have been detained at airports, Princeton University Spokesman John Cramer said the school would not comment on the situations of individual students or scholars. Princeton University is on winter break and many members of the community are traveling. School begins again on Feb. 6.

It is unclear how many members of the Princeton University community and other area colleges and universities would be affected by the executive order.

Deborah Prentice, dean of the faculty at Princeton, sent an email to faculty late Friday saying school officials received many messages from community members concerned about the impact of changes in immigration policies.

“At this stage, we do not know the content of the executive order or its impact.We do, however, want to be prepared to support and advise our students, scholars, and others who might be affected by any changes, and to express our deep concern about any potential impact on the ability of this and other American universities to engage in teaching and research of the highest quality,” Prentice wrote.

“We have strongly advised students and scholars who might be affected and who have travel plans in the coming days to defer travel outside of the United States until there is some clarity and legal analysis of the situation or, if they must travel, to seek legal counsel before they do,” Prentice wrote. “We have also shared with potentially affected students and scholars the information we are receiving from a law firm that follows these matters closely and has advised members of our community in the past.”

Prentice said school officials will work closely with Princeton colleagues, peer institutions and the immigration law community to support community members.

“We wanted to share this information more broadly with all of you because many of your students or peers may be reaching out to you for information or support, and we are all affected when members of our community feel at risk,” Prentice wrote. “We take very seriously anything that could affect the ability of our students and scholars to engage in their scholarship.”

A Sudanese student from Stanford University was handcuffed and detained at JFK Airport for five hours before being released Saturday morning. Two Iranian scholars from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth were detained at Logan International Airport in Boston Friday evening and later released. An MIT student who was visiting her home in Iran for winter break was blocked from returning to Boston. A spokesman for Northeastern University told the Boston Globe the new rules potentially affect more than 200 people at the school.

The president’s order, enacted at 4:42 p.m. Friday, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Department of Homeland Security said that the order also barred green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States. In a briefing for reporters, White House officials said that green card holders from the seven affected countries who are outside the United States would need a case-by-case waiver to return.

In response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of two Iraqis detained at JFK Airport, a federal judge for the Eastern District of New York issued an emergency stay Saturday that blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some people who arrived at airports in the U.S. But the stay stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Trump’s actions. A little over a year ago, even Mike Pence said such a ban would be offensive and unconstitutional.

Thousands of people have protested the ban at several airports across the country. A protest is planned at Terminal A of the Philadelphia International Airport from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has said his country would welcome the refugees banned by U.S.


  1. We need to have a frank discussion as a community about what we’re going to do to resist if this executive order morphs from keeping green card holders out, to actually rounding them up and deporting them. Because God help us all, is that out of the question? Yes, I’m all about PCS in my usual PP postings, but this is much bigger than where 76 kids end up going to school.

    1. It’s not going to be out of the question. This is the first step. We are in a very, very bad spot as a country. If we are going to make it through in any recognizable way we need to defend ALL of our community with everything we have. In some ways Princeton the town, and Princeton the University will be higher profile targets for what Bannon wants to do to our society. There are some good local resources, such as Not In Our Town, and CHOOSE, that people should become involved with. Give to the ACLU. Financially support national and local press. Call your reps DAILY to let your opposition to the decisions be heard. Even if your rep supports your position, they need to hear that you have their back. Read about how quickly oppressive regimes assume total power. It’s not years, it’s months.

      1. Especially with Bannon now on the National Security Council – I agree Princeton may become a special target because it’s a classic Trump campaign enemy (very blue, very educated). It’s horrifying. I admire the heck out of the lawyers camped out at airports this weekend trying to help stuck travelers. However, Reince Priebus just said this morning that while green card holders may be OK after all, that the EO could be expanded to include other countries. I think we’re at a point where calling and sending WMW postcards (and I have them available in a box at my driveway at 211 Dodds if anyone wants some) won’t be enough – it’s going to require more in-person protesting than this country has seen in decades.

        1. One big fear monger, messing with everyone from the White House, is one too many. Pour water on his fire, not gasoline, please.

          1. I don’t understand why encouraging activism is taking the low road, esp as CBP is in some cases ignoring the judiciary.

  2. We all need to get out our checkbooks for the ACLU, because GOP Congressmen seem perfectly willing to rubber-stamp every dreadful decision and error of judgment which flits through Trump’s peculiar brain and out through his pen. The ACLU has already rushed in and gotten the most recent immigration order stayed by multiple federal judges; not surprisingly, since its rationale is a flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause (i.e., separation of church and state).

    1. Agreed. However at least some of the CBP is apparently refusing to recognize the stay at airports. They refused to even speak with Cory Booker while he was Dulles. That is a huge source of concern.

  3. It’s time to protest for PEACE in this world community known as Princeton, NJ. Peace is something everyone can get behind… families who have lost precious lives on 911 & in other war zones around the world, survivors of oppression or death all around them, those harmed by threats to their lives & assaults on their peace of mind. Support peace FOR everyone regardless of race, creed, color, age or gender, instead of creating more negativity.

    Princeton can be a peaceful, unified international village. That means anyone who does harm to another, or threatens the safety of peaceful persons, is subject to the same laws & just outcomes. That’s the only way to ensure that justice is blind, to ensure equality, to have equal protection for everyone & to reach our ultimate goal which is: to live together in peace.

    The creation of special interest groups who are above the law, has sadly created tension, fear, distrust, unrest, & demands for enforcement. So, let’s speak out for something simple & universal. Stop scaring your kids & your neighbors. Hang up a peace sign, flash one, or wear one in your heart & let it show in everything you do. Anger & more fighting during the next 90 days will lead nowhere.

  4. Another incredibly stupid, improperly vetted and inhumane decision coming out of the Trump administration. The result is chaos, confusion and anger; and Trump is not making us any safer with his blarney. This ban is an insult and a slap in the face to our ally, Iraq. What a “nice” way to create more terrorists. Four more years of this?!

    1. It shouldn’t be surprising. Both Trump and Bannon have stated in the past that they want to destroy the political establishment and sink society into chaos. Read about the 2014 Human Dignity Institute’s conference at the Vatican with Bannon.

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