Harvard president hits back at Trump's immigration ban: 'Nearly half of the deans of Harvard's schools are immigrants'

Historian Drew Gilpin Faust speaks at Harvard University in the Thompson Room of the Barker Center as she is named President of Harvard February 11, 2007 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard appointed Faust as the first woman to lead the oldest college in the U.S. as campuses nationwide struggle with a shortage of female faculty members.Jodi Hilton/Getty ImagesHarvard President Drew Faust criticised President Trump’s immigration ban in an email to the Harvard community on Sunday.

Harvard President Drew Faust criticised President 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,” she continued, in an email that urged the Trump Administration, Congress, and court system to reconsider the order.

Faust’s words come amid backlash over an executive order which bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from travelling to the US for 90 days. Opponents of the ban worry that the temporary travel suspension will turn into a permanent ban. 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 professors around the nation. Harvard signers of the petition include Nobel laureates Dudley Herschbach and Eric Maskin.

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