Last Friday, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on immigration that shocked the world. Many of us in the MIT community were galvanized into action and joined the public protest in Copley Square on Sunday afternoon.
Yesterday, President Reif sent an email (which is also posted on the MIT website) to the MIT community that expressed how deeply disturbed he was by these events. He also explained how the administration was doing all it could do assist students and other MIT community members who were barred entry to the United States. His words are eloquent and inspiring. An excerpt of his letter is below. In his closing remarks, he urged us to do all we can to halt the increasing divide in our country.
What the moment demands of us
The Executive Order on Friday appeared to me a stunning violation of our deepest American values, the values of a nation of immigrants: fairness, equality, openness, generosity, courage. The Statue of Liberty is the “Mother of Exiles”; how can we slam the door on desperate refugees? Religious liberty is a founding American value; how can our government discriminate against people of any religion? In a nation made rich by immigrants, why would we signal to the world that we no longer welcome new talent? In a nation of laws, how can we reject students and others who have established legal rights to be here? And if we accept this injustice, where will it end? Which group will be singled out for suspicion tomorrow?
This may be one of the most challenging moments in our democracy and it will take energy, perseverance and faith to continue to work for equality and justice. We can do it.