Statement by the German Studies Association on the Executive Order Concerning Immigration

The German Studies Association expresses its deep concern about and opposition to the Executive Order on the admission and vetting of non-citizens to the United States, signed by President Donald J. Trump on 27 January 2017.

As it is currently being implemented, this Executive Order presents serious challenges to the freedom of academic movement, academic freedom, and intellectual exchange. The impediments for students are significant. The Executive Order as it stands will seriously impact applications to graduate and undergraduate study at American universities and deny universities the benefit of the scholarly skills and contributions of researchers and visiting faculty members, thereby impoverishing our intellectual and academic institutions. The consequences of the Executive Order for American intellectual, economic, financial, educational, and scientific leadership could be catastrophic.

The German Studies Association feels a particular ethical, moral, and intellectual responsibility to speak out on behalf of refugees. Millions of Americans are directly descended from Germans who had to flee their native land for political or religious reasons, beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing until 1945 and thereafter. The contributions of German refugees to this country have been legion, from Carl Schurz to Albert Einstein. Moreover, since its creation in 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany has provided a welcoming home to millions of refugees from political persecution in Europe and elsewhere. At the same time, we are keenly aware of the failure of US authorities to provide a haven to many Jewish refugees during the years of the Nazi dictatorship. That, too, leads us to call for this Executive Order to be rescinded immediately.

The GSA is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies, and wholeheartedly supports the statements of many fellow ACLS societies, which together represent tens of thousands of educators calling for the immediate reversal of this unwarranted decision.