Dear UC Hastings Community,
President Trump’s executive order barring admission to the United States of Syrian refugees and imposing a 90-day ban on all immigrant and non-immigrant entry from seven Muslim-majority countries has sowed fear and confusion across the country and around the world. I am writing to provide information to our community about resources for anyone effected by this action and to reassure all members of our community of our commitment to the basic values of human decency endangered by this order.
At this time, the College is not aware of any students, staff or faculty directly impacted by President Trump’s order. However, any member of our community that is so effected should contact the Dean’s Office immediately. We will work with the College’s General Counsel, Elise Traynum, to provide whatever advice or relief we can.
We will continue to monitor this matter closely. At this time, the situation is fluid and is likely to remain in flux as the courts get more deeply involved.
What is clear, however, is that the restrictions on travel to the United State threaten certain core values. The UC Hastings’ seal carries the words fiat justitia – Let Justice Be Done. This motto is not a hollow promise; it is who we are and what we do. It is not my place to advocate for political or ideological views. But I do have an obligation to defend the values that form the basis of our mission as a law school. These are many, but foremost among them are a respect for a diversity of ideas and a rejection of invidious discrimination. President Trump’s executive order threatens both of these cherished principles.
A policy excluding individuals because of their national origin, religion or political beliefs echoes shameful times in our past. Amorphous claims of “national security” or generalized threats cannot justify such practices. The historical lessons of the “red-scare” of the 1920s, Japanese internment of the 1940s, and McCarthyism of the 1950s, is that such hysteria leads to a deepening of harmful stereotypes and greater hostility to our citizens. Law students learn these lessons through case-law that in too many cases occurred long after the hysteria began, and too late to avoid the negative consequences suffered by those targeted by the government action. In my constitutional law classes, I have long asked my students what would they have done during those times when the founding principles of our Constitution were so threatened. This is no longer a hypothetical question. We have an obligation as members of the legal profession to defend our founding ideals.