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Letter to the Editor: Princeton political scientists oppose Trump's executive order

We are signing this statement of protest against the President’s executive order entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” of January 27, 2017. It “suspends entry into the United States,” for various periods of time, of refugees, Syrian refugees, and “aliens” without green cards from seven nations. We offer three reasons for opposing this order:

As political scientists, we have committed our professional lives to the study of good governance, and the attainment of the widely shared values of human dignity, rights, and democratic engagement. Research by members of our discipline shows that people’s ability to move across borders has enabled the United States to thrive, that overreach by political leaders can undermine liberal democratic norms and practices, that hostile relations with nations with whom the U.S. is not at war can increase political violence and extremism, and that the separation of religion and state is a core commitment of the United States’ constitutional system. The executive order violates all of those established findings.


As scholars, we deplore this order’s interruption of research, teaching, and intellectual interchange at American colleges and universities. International exchanges are essential to good scholarship, and an important way for people of different cultures and political systems to engage constructively with one another.

As teachers, we deplore the interruption of study and engagement of students who are blocked by this executive order from classes at American colleges and universities. We are concerned about the order’s impact on the many students whose lives will be directly and indirectly affected by the ban. Furthermore, this executive order teaches all the wrong lessons to our students and those coming behind them: It conveys fear, anger, governmental overreach, discrimination, and false statements.

Therefore, we urge President Trump to rescind this executive order immediately. If he does not do so, we urge the Congress to override it, the courts to issue further stays, and Americans to protest the ban on refugees and Muslim-majority nation residents. Political scientists’ research has shown that robust protest and political courage can offset the worst excesses of public officials; let us put that knowledge to use.

Faisal Z. Ahmed; Gary J. Bass; Mark R. Beissinger; Charles R. Beitz; Nancy Bermeo; Carles Boix; Charles M. Cameron; Brandice Canes-Wrone; David B. Carter; Rafaela M. Dancygier; Christina L. Davis; Paul Frymer; Martin I. Gilens; Alisha C. Holland; Matias Iaryczower; G. John Ikenberry; Kosuke Imai; Amaney Jamal; Robert O. Keohane; Atul Kohli; Melissa Lane; Melissa M. Lee; David Leheny; Stephen J. Macedo; Nolan M. McCarty; Tali Mendelberg; Helen Milner; Andrew Moravcsik; Alan Patten; Philip N. Pettit; Marc Ratkovic; Jacob N. Shapiro; Anne-Marie Slaughter; Sarah L. Staszak; Anna Stilz; Dara Z. Strolovitch; Ezra N. Suleiman; Rory Truex; Omar Wasow; Jennifer Widner; Lynn T. White III; Deborah J. Yashar.