MESA Board Statement on “The Enhanced Border and Security and Visa Entry Reform Act”

“The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act,” which passed unanimously (97-0) in the Senate on Thursday, April 18, prohibits admission of people from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan and North Korea unless they are coming to the United States as immigrants.

This provision will either eliminate or severely complicate any scholarly exchange, track two diplomacy, family visits, civil society contacts, training, and/or university enrollment in the United States for any individual from a country identified in the State Department list.

There have been no recent terrorist actions by individuals from any of these states. The United States has historically suffered terrorist attacks by individuals from major U.S. allies, including Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and no doubt other countries, none of which is covered by this legislation.

This provision represents a grave violation of freedom of expression and will involve untold personal hardship. It will also place immense additional obstacles against individuals from those countries who want to seek a U.S. education or even to expand their contacts among those who may be opposed to the actions of their governments—including terrorism.

In terms of real U.S. security, it is likely to accomplish little or nothing.

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