Position statements issued by GPA Members


Over the past month, members of our Association have issued a variety of public statements setting forth their views on the position that our country finds itself in in the world today. Most of these statements have to do with our relationships with other countries, immigration policy, national security and/or relationships within our community. They vitally touch on at least two prongs of our mission statement: promoting an international consciousness within the region and enhancing the City's global profile.

We are pleased to set forth these statements, and others that our members may offer in the future, in this space.


Mayor Kenney Releases Statement on Release of Detainees from PHL Airport
“I am so grateful to all those who worked to see these two new Americans released and reunited with their families, namely the ACLU, the International Refugee Assistance Project, volunteer lawyers, the Philadelphians who demonstrated peacefully last night, Senator Casey, Governor Wolf, Congressman Brady, Congressman Evans, State Rep Brian Sims, State Rep Jordan Harris and Councilwoman Helen Gym. I also thank our other congressional colleagues Rep. Brendan Boyle, Rep. Charlie Dent and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick for their vocal opposition to this unconstitutional order. While we will have to continue to work to see this order completely defeated, this is an important victory against hate.
 “We’re proud to announce that in addition to the release of anyone detained at the airport yesterday afternoon, all new passengers arriving today will be treated the same as they would have been prior to the executive order.”

Philadelphia Bar Association
In light of the attacks on the judiciary this weekend, Chancellor Deborah R. Gross issued the following statement on behalf of the 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association:
“It is the longstanding position of the Philadelphia Bar Association that judicial independence makes a system of impartial justice possible by enabling judges to protect and enforce the rights of the people, and by allowing judges without fear of reprisal to strike down actions of the legislative and executive branches of government which run afoul of the Constitution. Recent statements by our President, such as ‘if something happens blame him [the judge] and the court system’ undermine the separation of powers at the heart of our Constitution.
“Attempts to delegitimize and threaten the independence of the judiciary are improper and offensive. I call on our leaders to show respect for the rule of law which is the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy.”
Chancellor Deborah R. Gross Reaffirms Support of Sanctuary Cities, Immigrant Civil Rights
“The Philadelphia Bar Association reaffirms its support of Sanctuary Cities and the protection of civil rights for documented and undocumented immigrants. The protection of civil rights is one of the core values of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and we have a particular interest in making sure that the laws of our nation are fairly, faithfully and equally enforced, regardless of a person’s national origin, ethnicity or religion.
“I applaud the 17 attorneys general, including Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, for their swift and vigilant action to protect the rights of those impacted by the Executive Order.
“An overwhelming number of Philadelphia Bar Association members have shared that they are willing and able to contribute their time and talent to ensure the protection of these rights. We are working to organize these efforts in a constructive, productive and efficient manner. We will be hosting a ‘Know Your Rights’ Continuing Legal Education course on Feb. 21. More information will be available shortly.”
“A resolution that our Board of Governors unanimously adopted in September 2016, called on members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to oppose any and all bills that would punish counties or municipalities for making the decision to disentangle local policing from enforcement of civil immigration law. For more than two decades, the Philadelphia Bar Association has been on record calling for the removal of inappropriate and unnecessary obstacles to the legal representation of refugees.
“The United States is a country built on dreams and individuals of diverse backgrounds should be welcomed, as diversity is the fabric of our nation.”  
Community College of Philadelphia, Dr. Donald Guy Generals

Community College of Philadelphia values our international students, employees, and community members and the diversity that they provide to the learning culture. We reaffirm that the principles of diversity and inclusion are central to our mission.
On Friday, January 27, 2017, an Executive Order on Immigration was issued that bars citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days. The Executive Order also suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days.
According to news agencies, individuals in flight to the United States from these countries were detained at airports across our nation, while others in the seven countries covered by the Executive Order with valid paperwork were prevented from boarding planes scheduled to arrive in United States airports. Federal judges from several jurisdictions have intervened to allow some of those affected by the Executive Order and in transit to the United States to be allowed into the country and to temporarily stay certain portions of the Executive Order. Additional lawsuits and appeals are expected. However, it remains unclear if the court orders will be uniformly enforced, or overturned, and how the Executive Order will be applied to future travelers.
The College is advising students and other College community members from the affected countries not to travel or make travel plans to other countries until further clarification is provided.
We urge students from the impacted countries to reach out to the International Student Services Office for guidance. Legal services may also be obtained through Single Stop, a program that provides students with critical support services.
We will keep you posted as we learn additional information.

Drexel Support for International Students, Faculty and Professional Staff, John A. Fry, President 

The President’s Jan. 27 executive order suspending entry into the U.S. for refugees, immigrants and non-immigrants from certain countries stands as a major challenge to the nation’s colleges and universities. I want to assure the Drexel University community that we are prepared to support our international students, faculty, and professional staff by every possible means.

The chaotic implementation of the presidential order over this weekend — with key provisions modified, and others halted by federal judges on Saturday — has only intensified our shared concerns. As evidenced by statements issued across the landscape of American higher education, such a blanket ban is antithetical to many of the values we cherish. Drexel believes in inclusion and equality, and we are committed to celebrating and recognizing the fruits of diversity and global engagement.

We also know that some of our students and colleagues not only are anxious about the impact of this order on their lives, studies and research, but are also shaken and hurt, knowing that this country has singled them out — and their families, home countries, religions, and the like — for seemingly discriminatory treatment. They may be unable to travel home in an emergency. And they may well be feeling isolated, as family members are prohibited from visiting from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

For now, the most practical consideration, and our best advice, is that international students and scholars from any affected nation defer any planned travel outside the country until the situation can be clarified. We encourage all those potentially affected to check with Drexel’s International Students and Scholars Services for updated information and advice on any travel plans, as University officials will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Drexel’s global ties are integral to our mission, whether in educating international students here on campus, placing Drexel undergraduates in career-making co-ops with overseas companies, or creating new knowledge through research partnerships that span continents. We will do everything possible to preserve these critical relationships, and to safeguard the students, faculty, and professional staff who are at the heart of what we do. These members of the Drexel community have our strongest backing. In support of them, I have joined my academic colleagues nationwide in petitioning the President to reconsider this executive order.


Foreign Policy Research Institute - FPRI
"GPA member the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) does not itself issue position statements but has submitted two articles by authors with whom it has relationships for inclusion in this space. Because of their length, only the URLs for these articles are reproduced here. They are as follows:

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Inclusivity Statement

The Free Library of Philadelphia is a welcoming and inclusive public space and strongly believes in promoting understanding and community engagement. All 54 of our libraries provide a safe haven for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, providing homework help, ESL classes, supportive job search assistance, and much more. We encourage and host conversations about differences and complex social issues. The library exists to provide opportunities for discussion supported by educational resources, access to a vast array of information, and ideas that transform communities, open minds, and promote inclusion.



HIAS Pennsylvania

On January 27, President Trump signed an Executive Order banning immigrants from coming into the U.S. from Muslim countries and temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee program completely. Among the reasons given is the following:

“Hundreds of foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after claiming asylum; after receiving visitor, student or employment visas; or through the U.S. refugee resettlement program.”


To date, 80% of the terrorist attacks that have occurred on American soil have been committed by Americans. Less than one hundred attacks have been committed by foreign born individuals.

What is the consequence of basing Executive Orders on false information like that quoted above? Further chaos, instability and a rise in threats to National Security.

There are 65.3 million refugees in the world today. These are desperate people who fled their homelands – their extended families, their friends, everything that was familiar to them – because they were persecuted and attacked, because their lives were threatened and their livelihoods were taken from them, and because they saw their neighbors and even their loved-ones killed. They are survivors. They are trying to escape an unlivable situation and start over so that they can rebuild their lives. Refusing to answer their call for help to join the rest of the world in support of their struggle can only make enemies for us. Enemies who are desperate and who have nothing more to lose. Is that a formula for national security? If you see a fire, will you try to put it out or will you leave it to burn hotter, faster and wider?

Make no mistake; this Executive Order is not about National Security. It’s about fear mongering, prejudice and simply evidence of man’s inhumanity to man.

And in OTHER FALSE NEWS: “sanctuary cities” are cities that refuse to cooperate with the federal government and release immigrant criminals.

Federal courts have ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds are merely requests; therefore, any municipality that cooperated with them without first insisting on a warrant could be held liable for illegally detaining someone. Holding immigrants for ICE can become a practice of ethnic profiling--the question of sanctuary cities was brought before federal courts because a Puerto Rican was detained for four days by local police who held onto him in response to an ICE request to hold him.

Why did ICE make that request? They erroneously thought that Mr. Galarza was an undocumented immigrant. But of course, he wasn’t.

So how could they make such a mistake? Because they were not forced to gather their evidence and apply for a warrant. They merely made a request. And they were wrong. And it cost an American citizen his liberty for four days. And the municipality that held him was liable for doing so. Because they did so without requiring a warrant.

So all of this hysteria about how “sanctuary cities” are letting criminals go willy-nilly and refusing to cooperate with federal officials is false. They are merely doing their jobs. Following the fourth amendment and the law.




As an organization that has welcomed students of all countries, cultures and faiths for more than a century, International House Philadelphia strongly opposes President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

This hasty and ill-thought-through decision to indiscriminately bar thousands of men, women and children from entering the United States, based on their country of origin and religion, repudiates the principles that indeed do make America great. Our national security is crucial but it can be adequately protected without abandoning our national ideals.

The executive order has created a climate of fear and uncertainty among the thousands of international students that are in America to pursue their academic dreams, including residents of International House Philadelphia who attend local universities and colleges. Some of our current residents are from countries on the “banned” list of nations with majority-Muslim populations, and another Muslim resident was advised by her college not to travel at this time because of the uncertainty regarding application of the order. Many of our 309 residents are worried about their future in America, even though most come from countries that are not targeted by the executive order. This “culture of fear” has no place in our American society and particularly in Philadelphia, the “Cradle of Liberty.”

Our goal remains steadfast – to provide a safe, inclusive and welcoming community for all international and American students who choose to live with us. Our mission to foster international understanding and respect among people of all nations has never been more important.

Located at 3701 Chestnut Street in University City, International House Philadelphia provided housing for more than 1,000 students from nearly 80 countries around the world last year, including the United States. Founded in 1910, IHP is the region’s international center for arts, culture, educational and residential activities. 


Lehigh Joins the #YouAreWelcomeHere Campaign

Lehigh University faculty, staff and students from across campus came together to send a message to international students and scholars: You are welcome here! The video is part of a campaign started by Temple University to help international students feel comfortable studying on American campuses.

“I felt like it was important that US universities come together on this instead of competing, and send a unified message to let international students know that nothing has changed, that we welcome them, that university campuses are progressive, open-minded, friendly places, and that we truly value that here,” Jessica Sandberg, director of international admissions at Temple, told The PIE News, a website for international educators.

More than 1,000 international students call Lehigh home, and Lehigh President John Simon and senior administrators have released statements reiterating Lehigh's support for the free exchange of people and ideas. As the Principles of Our Equitable Community state, "We affirm the inherent dignity in all of us, and we maintain an inclusive and equitable community." In other words, you are welcome here.



 Temple University, President Richard Englert

“Temple prides itself on being a community of diverse scholars, many of whom come to us from foreign nations. We are committed to enabling our faculty, students and visitors – both from the U.S. and from locations around the globe – to contribute to the vitality of the education we provide and the role we play in the local, regional and global economy. We embrace diversity as integral to our mission of education and discovery. Temple is a better university because of this diversity.

“We don't yet have answers for many of your questions, but ISSS is very closely monitoring the situation and is working with our campus colleagues and immigration attorneys to ensure that we distribute as soon as we can information based on official actions by federal offices and agencies.

"And as you continue to watch the media reports and social media postings, we encourage you to distinguish carefully between what is official and what is merely speculation and rumor.”



University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, President

President Trump’s recent Executive Order is injurious to our work and inimical to our values. The damage already done to the lawful freedoms and opportunities of our students and colleagues, here and around the world, is undeniable and indefensible. This Order will weaken the promise of educational opportunity, intellectual discovery, and global engagement that so distinguishes American universities.
I am the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi Germany. My grandfather was an immigrant. My son-in-law is an immigrant. My family’s story is part of a proud and productive American story, as is all of yours.
Immigration strengthens the fabric of this nation and our University. Immigrants spark innovation, launch new businesses, and enrich our culture and arts. They are a precious national resource and invaluable to Penn.
We must stand together, united in our support of beloved colleagues, students, friends, and families who, no matter where they come from or how they worship, have contributed so much to our University community and to this country.
We are heirs to Penn’s heritage as the nation’s first secular university, where all religions are welcome. We are heirs to the genius and humanity of Ben Franklin.
As such, we must not and will not remain silent.
We stand for open-hearted compassion and open-minded opportunity. We will remain unyielding in our allegiance to our fundamental principles and to each other. Penn will not bend.
Staff across the University are right now assisting our affected community members with legal counsel and other resources.
In addition to those efforts, we will do everything in our power, speak to every friend and ally, and leave no stone unturned in our efforts to urge President Trump to change course and rectify the horrible damage this Order has caused.  



Villanova University, Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, President

The White House’s Executive Order issued on Friday afternoon suspends entry to the United States of immigrants and nonimmigrants from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

At Villanova, we have a small number of international students and faculty members who hail from these particular countries and, at this time, the University has directly reached out and offered its guidance and support to them.

I want to assure you that we are taking the implications of the Executive Order very seriously and continue to closely monitor its impact on our Villanova community. We also continue to watch the various legal action being taken across the country in response to it.

In fact, today at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) meeting in Washington, D.C., along with approximately 200 leaders from Catholic institutions of higher education across the country, I signed a statement with regard to the Executive Order.

As a Catholic Augustinian University, I stand committed—with the rest of the Villanova community—to our shared values of truth, unity and love. During these times, we must remember to support one another, no matter our background, faith or country of origin.