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Harvard President Drew Faust criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration ban in an email to the Harvard community on Sunday, The Harvard Crimson reported.
“Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants – from India, China, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, and Iran,” she wrote. “Benefiting from the talents and energy, the knowledge and ideas of people from nations around the globe is not just a vital interest of the University; it long has been, and it fully remains, a vital interest of our nation.”
The email urged the Trump administration, Congress, and the court system to reconsider the order.
Faust’s words come amid backlash over an executive order signed on Friday that bars citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days. Opponents of the ban worry that the temporary travel ban will turn into a permanent ban. At least two Harvard affiliates have been blocked from entering the US since the order was issued, according to The Crimson.
One appears to be Samira Asgari, who was set to begin working on a tuberculosis project at a Harvard Medical School laboratory, according to The Boston Globe.
Asgari, who is Iranian, was turned away from boarding her plane at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.
“They took me a few meters away and took my passport and told me my visa’s not valid,” Asgari told The Globe in a Skype interview. “I told him I do have a valid visa, but he told me that it doesn’t matter. I asked him, ‘What can I do now?’ and he told me to go home.”
About 200 Harvard professors have signed a petition deriding Trump’s executive orders on immigration. The petition, called “Academics Against Immigration Executive Order,” includes the names of more than 7,000 academics around the nation. Harvard signers of the petition include Nobel laureates Dudley Herschbach and Eric Maskin.