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The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is deeply concerned about the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to partially reinstate the revised Executive Order (EO) travel ban. The Supreme Court ruling exempts from the travel ban individuals from six majority-Muslim countries who have a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States. Even so, the exclusion of people from the targeted countries is discriminatory and violates the fundamental principles upheld by anthropologists, anthropology and the AAA.
The exemption means that those accepted at U.S. universities or invited to attend a conference, including the AAA Annual Meeting held in Washington, DC, this November, are likely to be unaffected by the ban. For all others, the ban on entry takes effect today. This includes nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—and refugees unable to document a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
The EO dramatically reverses decades of precedent without any apparent careful consideration for the violation of human rights and of the prospect for potentially dangerous consequences. Academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas are essential for researchers, teachers, and students to advance the purpose of institutions of higher education in service of the common good.
In previous statements (AAA Calls for Immediate Reversal of Executive Order Banning Immigrants, AAA Statement on Revised Travel Ban), AAA has called on the U.S. government to reverse its ill-informed, heavy-handed executive order suspending entry of all refugees to the United States. “The order must be rescinded, immediately, and the hateful cultural ignorance behind it must be named,” said AAA President Alisse Waterston.
AAA will continue to monitor the situation closely and hold the administration accountable. We will also do everything in our power to support our members and urge them to get involved through our Time to Take Action page.
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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.