Chancellor's Communiqué

Statement on Immigration Executive Orders, 1-30-2017

Dear faculty, staff and students,

For decades, CU Denver has been a place that welcomes faculty, staff and students of diverse backgrounds. It’s the richness of our diversity that defines this institution and makes it an extraordinary place.

Last week, President Trump signed three executive orders that deal with issues of immigration and the ability of non-U.S. citizens to enter the United States. There is a great deal of confusion about the scope and effect of the executive orders. 

I personally and we as a community start from a common perspective, which is that we are stronger when our classrooms and workplaces include students, faculty, researchers and staff who bring perspective and experience from across the world. Appropriate vetting processes have brought CU Denver international students and faculty from all countries and diverse faiths, and we are confident that the processes can be administered in a way that continues this tradition. CU Denver welcomes students, faculty and staff of all national origins, religious beliefs, races and all other identities in our community, and we will not tolerate any discrimination or harassment against any member of that community.

We have been communicating with our faculty, students and staff who are, or could potentially be, impacted by the executive orders. We also are monitoring potential changes to immigration laws, policies and practices that could affect the status and safety of members of our CU Denver family, particularly international students and those who may be undocumented. Here are some of the things that we currently know.

One of the orders places a 90-day ban on the entry of visitors from the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. We do not believe that the orders reach students or employees currently within the United States on a valid visa, including those from these countries. They have a lawful presence in the United States, and nothing within the executive order rescinds the visas.

CU Denver continues to welcome all students and workers from other countries who are legally here with visas.  We currently have 1,500 international students overall, and 58 students from these seven countries.  In the last several weeks, our Office of International Affairs has held several “information and discussion” sessions for international students and a local immigration attorney has been available as a resource.  We are advising these individuals to contact the university's International Student and Scholar Services Office before travelling outside the U.S. in the immediate future and will continue to monitor the situation and update them as possible.

Another of the orders requires the federal government to take actions to ensure "the detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law pending the outcome of their removal proceedings or their removal from the country to the extent permitted by law.” While the scope of this order is not well-defined, the order does not repeal DACA status and it does not prioritize immigration enforcement against DACA recipients. Because an applicant cannot receive DACA status if he or she has a significant criminal history, the order has focused on aliens who have engaged in criminal activity and who represent a threat to national security. DACA recipients remain welcome to study at CU Denver, and the executive order does not rescind DACA work authorizations.

CU Denver supports our undocumented students, including those attending under the DACA and ASSET programs, and earlier this month signed a public letter of support for the DACA program. We will continue to admit students consistent with nondiscrimination policies and Colorado’s ASSET law, as tuition eligibility is not determined at the federal level.

In addition, we maintain our commitment to the privacy of student records and will not provide them to anyone except when required by law. While we cannot prohibit federal immigration officials from entering public spaces on campus, federal regulations do not normally allow immigration officials access to non-public campus places, such as offices and student housing, without first having obtained judicial approval, and nothing in the executive orders alters that requirement. As for our own police practices, university police do not inquire into immigration status or enforce immigration law. Their highest responsibility is to lawfully protect the safety of our campus community, which includes international students and those currently enrolled under the DACA and ASSET programs. 

We encourage university community members who are impacted by these executive orders to seek information and counsel from International Student and Scholar Services at 303-315-2230 (press “0”) or We will continue to monitor these national discussions and will keep the university community informed of important developments as they unfold. We are and will remain unwaveringly committed to providing educational opportunities to students and recruiting faculty and staff without regard to nationality, place of birth or religious beliefs. We stand ready to provide them support and assistance. 

Thank you for making CU Denver an open and welcoming learning community.

Dorothy Horrell signature

Dorothy Horrell