July 13, 2020 – Statement by Institute Directors

The Africana Studies Institute, the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, the American Studies Program, the Center for Judaic Studies, El Instituto (Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies), the Human Rights Institute, the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP), the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the African American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, the Rainbow Center, and the Women’s Center are in solidarity with our international students affected by the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations that restrict students who are on F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant visas.  We find these draconian measures to have little to do with public health, especially as they impact students who have never left the country since the pandemic began. Rather, they are an extension of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policies on immigration. We are outraged by the continued racist and xenophobic language used by the President and his administration to blame the pandemic on Asian peoples, as well as the implicit and explicit demonization of immigrants as a threat to national security through the following policy attempts during his administration:

  • Undermining asylum
  • Banning Muslims
  • Reducing refugee admissions
  • Attacking the diversity visa program
  • Imposing a “wealth test” for immigrants with legal status
  • The pregnancy ban
  • Increase in denying and delaying worker requests
  • Slowing green card applications
  • Closing overseas USCIS offices
  • Pushing large numbers of people into deportation hearings.
  • Attacking DACA and TPS
  • Increasing costs for immigrants

This new ruling is yet another attack that targets the most vulnerable in our global communities.  It is also a direct assault on universities, which are seen by the administration (correctly) as institutional obstacles to the ideology of white nationalism.   The ruling also incentivizes students and instructors to jeopardize their health since individual students risk deportation if none of their classes meet in person, even if they attend institutions like UConn that are not teaching exclusively online. 

The Africana Studies Institute, Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, the American Studies Program, the Center for Judaic Studies, El Instituto, the Human Rights Institute, the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP), the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the African American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, the Rainbow Center, and the Women’s Center are committed to supporting the inclusivity of our international faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students. We are concerned that this policy will further reinforce institutionalized xenophobia in higher education and we ask that the university administration join us and do everything in its power to thwart this ruling.  We will certainly do everything we can to protect international students, faculty, and staff at the University of Connecticut.  

In solidarity,

Melina Pappademos, Director, Africana Studies Institute
Jason O. Chang, Director, Asian and Asian American Studies Institute
Chris Vials, Director, American Studies Program
Avinoam Patt, Director, Center for Judaic Studies
Samuel Martinez, Director, El Instituto (Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies)
Kathryn Libal, Director, Human Rights Institute
Amy Gorin, Director, Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP)
Glenn Mitoma, Director, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Sherry Zane, Director, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
Willena Kimpson Price, Director, African American Cultural Center
Angela Rola, Director, Asian American Cultural Center
Fany D. Hannon, Director, Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center
Kelsey O’Neil, Director, Rainbow Center
Kathleen Holgerson, Director, Women’s Center


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