Statement on US Executive Order on Immigration

The faculty and graduate students of the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto join other academic communities within the University and beyond in condemning the Executive Order on Immigration signed by US President Donald J. Trump on Friday, January 27th, banning citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entry to the United States, and suspending all refugee applications for a minimum of 120 days. The order is an affront to human dignity, an attack on the most vulnerable and a program of blatant discrimination and Islamophobia. The Executive Order comes at a time of deepening racism and gendered violence not only in the United States but also in Canada. The abhorrent terrorist attack against worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City on Sunday January 29th alerts us to the severity of these issues in Canada and the dangers of complacent critique.

We stand in solidarity with our colleagues who have protested the Executive Order, for example the Department of Political Science faculty at U of T, The University of Toronto Faculty Association, the Canadian Association of Geographers, the Association of American Geographers and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Scholarship in geography and planning, like all academic endeavors, thrives on cooperation and exchange across national borders. In our discipline, such international engagement is critical to understanding the world in its human and natural complexity. As noted in the response by the Association of American Geographers, ‘[d]iversity and international interactions in the field of geography are essential to addressing global issues including security, peace, economic well-being, and health, as well as to achieving global understanding of our world and understanding in our world’. The immigration ban profoundly contravenes these professional values and commitments and contributes to misunderstanding and international instability.

We therefore affirm our commitment to the principles of non-discrimination, cooperation and inclusion. We pledge as a department and in our academic endeavors to take practical steps to neutralize the harms of the Executive Order on our students and colleagues (e.g., when organizing conferences or workshops, joint research projects, and other forms of cooperation). We will work to encourage action from the University of Toronto and the international scholarly community, including the AAG, more broadly to condemn the ban, strengthen the call for its repeal and build solidarity.

Please consider signing a statement to the Executive Committee of the American Association of Geographers

As a first step, the Department of Geography and Planning is co-sponsoring the following event:

Bordering Injustice: How Should We Respond to Trump’s Ban?