The Executive Order on Immigration: Statement from the Columbia School of Social Work Faculty

March 13, 2017 @ 6:16 pm

We, the faculty at the Columbia University School of Social Work, write this statement to denounce President Trump’s discriminatory and unconstitutional executive order on immigration banning individuals from six Muslim majority countries from entering the United States.

We share in the national and international outrage over this executive order and support statements made by our university president, Lee Bollinger, and others from countless universities, organizations, and companies, who have underscored the discriminatory nature of this action that specifically bans individuals from Muslim-majority countries.  This ban calls into question our equal protections under the law, and is inconsistent with our nation’s founding principles and our core values as social workers.

As social work faculty, we are committed to fighting against all forms of prejudice and discrimination, such as those based on race, religion, and national origin, and are alarmed by the rise in hate crimes and the three-fold increase in anti-Muslim hate groups.  Moreover, as leaders in global social work education and research, we place tremendous value on our work with our collaborators, students, and communities around the world, particularly those in Muslim majority countries such as Jordan, and our work with Syrian refugees.

We applaud U. S. District Judge James Robart’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order on the first version of the order on immigration, along with the unanimous decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to maintain that decision.   We know, however, that that decision was temporary as this new order on immigration is set to go into effect on March 16th.

Together we denounce what is clearly a Muslim ban and commit to fight so that it will be permanently dismantled and no further discriminatory orders are executed.  Toward that end, we join colleagues at other schools of Social Work, such as the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, to offer the following resources and recommendations for ourselves, our families, our colleagues, our students, our clients, and our communities.

  • Contact your congressional representatives to voice your concerns.
  • Do not remain silent. Educate others about Islamophobia and racism against Muslims.
  • Attend or provide “Know your rights” workshops.
  • Volunteer as an Arabic-English or Persian-English translator at airports, hospitals, shelters, etc.
  • Sign petitions. One example is Mpower’s “Join the legal fight against Trump’s Muslim Ban”
  • Educate yourself about the Executive Order, judicial opinions, and stories from the thousands of individuals and families that have been affected by it
  • Submit articles and opinion pieces to newspapers or online
  • Engage in community action by organizing, facilitating, or participating in rallies, protests and boycotts. Become an ally and support community-lead strikes and boycotts.
  • Contact local and national journalists particularly about upcoming rallies or boycotts
  • Organize via social media.
  • Stronger together – partner with multiple social justice groups (e.g., religious solidarity groups, racial solidarity groups).
  • Seek out support at the school through student services and discuss these issues in classes with peers and faculty.