Task Force on Civil and Human Rights

The Task Force on Civil and Human Rights pays close attention to the legal and political landscape and monitors shifts that may negatively affect our members. It tracks official rhetoric that targets Muslim and Middle Eastern communities and the reported harassment of Muslim and Middle Eastern students and faculty. It is attentive to the ways in which immigration law and the proposed registry program that targets Muslims may pose challenges to Muslim and Middle Eastern communities, and students and researchers working on the Middle East. It serves as a vehicle to monitor such developments and devises ways for MESA to respond effectively to the federal administration and its policies.

Recent Work

Statement on DHS Proposed Rule Imposing New Limits on Student Visa Duration

The MESA Task Force on Civil and Human Rights calls on DHS to withdraw a proposed rule that would effectively deprive international students of lawful status for the duration required for many degree programs, restricting students from much of the developing world to two-year visas insufficient even for undergraduate study. The administration's proposed regulation would effectively mean that the United States no longer welcomes international students. If this rule were to go into effect, students from much of the world would face severe disincentives in considering degree programs in the U.S. Such actions would inflict broad harm on the intellectual life and economic viability of American universities, future generations of students, and the sectors of the economy that require highly qualified researchers and professionals.

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TFCHR announces a study of visa and denial of entry issues

MESA's Task Force on Civil and Human Rights notes with concern the increasing denial of entry to students, particularly from Iran, with valid visas, as well as reports of deportations and interrogations. MESA has initiated a study of the issues of visa cancelation, border denials, and deportations of students and faculty from the Middle East and North Africa. We are seeking information to better document the challenges faced by those seeking to travel from the MENA region to the US for academic purposes. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to provide information regarding these issues.

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Memo on US Supreme Court Decision on IRAP v. Trump upholding September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation of Travel Ban

On June 26, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding President Trump’s third Muslim Ban. MESA continues to believe that the travel ban is at odds with fundamental principles upheld by the scholarly community including non-discrimination and a commitment to the free exchange of ideas. MESA will continue to take proactive steps to mitigate the adverse impact of the travel ban on research collaborations, scholarly activities and the students in our community.

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