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Immigration Update

February 20, 2017

To the Caltech Community:

The success of America and, in particular, American higher education has been our ability to attract extraordinary talent from around the world. We welcome diverse perspectives and new approaches to problems as the surest means to create knowledge and improve society. Whether we are the immigrants, or our parents or our grandparents, the opportunity to contribute to the success of our country – through the arts, through science, through technology, through business – has been an animating principle of the American ideal.

It is in this context that the executive orders on immigration are of such concern. Caltech and our sister colleges and universities will not thrive, nor will our country, if we do not remain a destination of choice. Four days after the inauguration, we hosted a forum of university presidents on our campus discussing "Politics and American Higher Education," which raised a number of these issues and explored our responsibilities as moral leaders. When the immigration ban was announced, we were the first of our peers to declare publicly our unwavering commitment to welcoming and supporting people from around the world, followed by campus meetings addressing the particulars of the immigration restrictions. Caltech is a signatory to numerous letters on the subject, including the ACE letter to DHS Secretary Kelly, the AAAS multi-society statement, and the petition to President Trump in support of DACA. Most recently, Caltech joined an amicus brief to the courts through the AAU and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP that argues against the immigration ban on the basis of harm to university communities.

In all these actions we have emphasized our fundamental values and eschewed the manifestly political. Caltech must support the ability of all members of our community to express freely their views and no institutional position should quench the debate. Moreover, we are making the commitment to our faculty, students, postdocs, and staff real, and not simply rhetorical, by providing legal advice and emergency funds to those affected directly or who have family members affected by the travel ban.

There are sure to be twists and turns in the road in the days to come. The Institute will stand firm in its support of freedom of movement and expression and the American ideal. As individual members of the Caltech community you have the opportunity to speak and to act, and we will protect those rights to the utmost of our ability.


Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
Edward M. Stolper, Provost