Georgetown University Statement Concerning Immigration Executive Order

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

As you know, on Friday afternoon, the White House issued an Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  The Executive Order addresses standards for immigrant, nonimmigrant, and refugee entry into the United States.

While we continue to work to understand the full range of impacts, we share a summary of the Executive Order and answers to commonly asked questions.  These are based on our current information, and we will update them as we learn more.

The Executive Order is complex, and it may take months for the Administration to develop clear policies regarding standards for entry into the United States.  In the meantime, we advise that members of our community from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen legally residing in the United States avoid travel outside the U.S. during this period and consult an immigration attorney if travel is required.

The implications of this order are significant and concerning.  We are an institution that values the contributions of our international students, staff, and faculty, and we are deeply committed to interreligious dialogue and providing a context in which members of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to practice their faith.

We have been international since the days of our founding.  Georgetown is 228 years old—founded in 1789, eight months before the republic itself.  In our first classes, a quarter of our students came from other countries.  Our first course catalogues in the 1790s were in three languages.  Our international character is integral to our identity as a University, to the free exchange of ideas, and to our ability to support all of our students, staff, and faculty in contributing to our global community.

Our Catholic and Jesuit identity provides the foundation for our lives together.  Guided by our mission, we have placed a special emphasis on interreligious dialogue and our openness to different faith traditions and cultures. This includes our efforts to support a diverse and vibrant Muslim community on campus.

In this moment of challenge and uncertainty, we have an ever more urgent responsibility to care for one another, to empathize with those in need, to dedicate our knowledge to service, and to place above all, the betterment of humankind.  This is the story of our University, of our nation and our world.  Let us be animated by this commitment.


John J. DeGioia

In disseminating the statement, Dean Hellman added:  “Our university adds its voice to the outpouring of concern about an act that raises issues regarding the core values that SFS has stood for since our very founding. We have been privileged over the years to host students and faculty from each of the 7 countries named in the order, not to mention countless refugees from wars over the last century. They have enriched our campus. They have helped to foster our mission.  Surely, these are the kinds of ties that build the foundations of peace and mutual understanding.”