USACBI denounces Trump Executive Order, urges academic action and support for BDS

USACBI unconditionally condemns and calls for the repeal of President Trump’s recent Executive Order (EO) which bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and places an indefinite moratorium on refugees from Syria.  The Order is of a piece with the Trump administration’s blatant hostility towards immigrants from Latin America and with the white supremacy, Islamophobia, racism, Zionism and anti-Semitism that has characterized its statements and actions.  USACBI therefore sympathizes with and supports the call for a boycott  by international and US scholars of academic conferences held in the US  that, under the current ban, are not accessible to those banned from the U.S. We call on scholars in the US to stand in solidarity with those whose rights to academic freedom are being trampled upon by a racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic administration. The boycott in response to Trump’s ban also seeks  to disrupt business as usual for academics and refuse complicity with an authoritarian and racist regime that is having global ripple effects.

Trump’s  Executive Order has established a 90-day ban that denies US entry to citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. So far, the ban has affected current visa and green card holders, and changes to the scope of the policy have only occurred under  consistent legal pressure and public protests demanding due process rights for migrants. The temporary blocking of the ban is under constant contestation by the Trump administration. Moreover, the blocking of the ban does not fully reverse the ban nor fully mitigate its effects, as it does not legislate the release of those currently detained. Popular outcry and resistance thus continue to be crucial. The EO also refuses entry to all refugees to the US for a period of 120 days and indefinitely bans all refugees from Syria. There are indications that the Order could be extended to include other Muslim majority countries.

We should note that the ban on entry is anti-Muslim and also anti-Arab and anti-Black, as the countries targeted are all Arab or African states. These are also ALL countries that have been devastated by US military interventions, invasion, occupation, proxy wars, and drone violence. It is unconscionable that the US should further exacerbate the suffering of people already enduring years of warfare and instability caused directly or indirectly by the US, and in particular, shut its doors to Syrian refugees whose lives have been destroyed by the worst crisis of displacement since World War II. We are also deeply aware that Trump’s deportation and border control policies will only heighten insecurity for scholars and students who are undocumented, and we stand in solidarity with them and with movements to create sanctuary spaces on campuses.

We call on organizers of international academic conferences to move their conferences to other places outside the US in solidarity with those who will suffer detention, criminalization, and other forms of violent policing at and within the US borders. We also support demands that domestic academic conferences be held in “sanctuary cities” that are committed to the protection of persons threatened by the Trump administration’s proposals for deportation and incarceration of legal and undocumented immigrants alike.

We demand that US professional academic associations, colleges, and universities call for the repeal of  Trump’s ban and condemn it as Islamophobic, anti-Arab, racist, xenophobic, imperialist, and an assault on the academic freedom of scholars/students from the seven banned states.

We also call on members of US academic associations to refuse to cooperate in any way (by sharing research, for example) with the Trump administration as an expression of their refusal of complicity with an administration that has violated the most basic human rights, as well as the right to academic freedom.

We note, however, that the impact of Trump’s order on scholars from the region is nothing new.  There has already been a de facto ban in place for scholars and students from these regions, as well as from Palestine, due to the ravages of war and occupation, the “extreme vetting” of refugees that was already in place in the US, and Israel’s denial of freedom of movement to Palestinians with the full support of the US. Bans on Palestinian travel and freedom of movement for scholars and students by Israel, violating the right to education, have long been upheld by the US.

As an organization that was formed in response to the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and in solidarity with Palestinian colleagues who are denied academic freedom, we ask all those who agree to boycott US professional academic conferences to also endorse USACBI . To support the USACBI call is a way to recognize–and contest–the historic affiliations between US and Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism, the enduring ’special relationship’ between the US and Israel, the $3.8 billion annual funding already promised for the next ten years to Israel by Obama, and Trump’s support for the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Israel’s role in wars and colonization in the region will only be furthered by Trump and his Zionist supporters and the right to education of Palestinian scholars and students will only be further degraded.

There are deep connections between US and Israeli regimes of policing, surveillance, and border walls. Indeed, it is Israel’s racist policies towards Palestinians that Trump claims as the model for his wall-building, racial profiling, and exclusion of Muslims, Arabs, and refugees. We ask, then, that all professional academic associations that  have not done so endorse USACBI and support the BDS movement in keeping with their ethical opposition to Trump’s xenophobic and discriminatory policies in the US. As we see daily, people everywhere are rising up to protest interlocking forms of oppression. Now is the moment to connect our struggles!

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