SHAFR Opposes Executive Order 13769
Restricting Entry to the United States
The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations stands with our peer professional associations in strongly opposing the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13769, which has suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, bars Syrian refugees to the United States indefinitely and blocks entry to the United States of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) for 90 days. The Executive Order has also created a great deal of uncertainty even for permanent residents (green card holders) of the U.S. and those with dual citizenship. Beyond the deeply troubling immediate consequences of Executive Order 13769, hostility to immigration and global exchange is stoking a climate of anxiety among students, scholars, and their families within and beyond our community, touching many who are not directly affected by the Executive Order but are not U.S. citizens and have entered a new threshold of insecurity.
Written and carried out without consultation with the U.S. intelligence community, military, or State Department, Executive Order 13769 places America’s foreign policy apparatus, our citizens, and the entire globe at greater risk. In alienating American allies, it puts U.S. troops abroad in greater danger and profoundly undermines the work of American career diplomats, injecting chaos into long and carefully cultivated relationships. The Executive Order’s deliberate targeting of Muslim travelers and migrants undermines American diplomacy and harms U.S. national security by fueling anti-Americanism abroad and Islamophobia here at home.
Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations is a non-political, non-profit international professional association open to all persons interested in the scholarly study of American diplomacy. It is a global community of more than 1,300 members that promotes the advancement and dissemination of knowledge about American foreign relations through the sponsorship of research, annual meetings and publications. The Executive Order directly affects all of our members as a threat to the principle of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. The Society will do all it can to assist those of its members who now face the prospect of being denied entry to the United States to attend our annual conference, conduct research in American archives, and exchange ideas with colleagues.
As historians of American foreign relations, we are deeply conscious of the need for well-informed and critical public debate when it comes to questions of national security and foreign policy. Historians have much to contribute to such debates, given their knowledge of the histories, languages and cultures of the “countries of particular concern” to the United States identified by the Executive Order. This expertise is developed over years, sometimes decades, of travel and engagement with these societies. We have every reason to believe that these policies, in addition to the immediate humanitarian costs of the Executive Order 13769, will, by limiting travel and exchange, impoverish not only the academic community, but the whole of American society.