Affiliates contribute commentary in the wake of executive order on immigration

February 2, 2017

Buffett Institute faculty affiliates frequently lend expertise on crucial global issues, and their contributions and commentary surrounding the January 27 executive order on immigration are evidence of the breadth of our scholarly community. 

I interviewed 300 Syrian refugees. They are far from a security threat.

Wendy Pearlman (political science), Washington Post

People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Jan. 28. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)“Over nearly five years, I have interviewed more than 300 displaced Syrians in the Middle East and Europe. My forthcoming book, a collection of testimonials in which Syrians explain their country’s conflict in their own words, shows that these men, women and children are far from security threats....The Syrian refugees I have met are ordinary people whose lives have been upended by extraordinary suffering. Some were tortured for peacefully calling for freedom. Others spent months eating leaves when their communities were encircled and starved. Still others barely escaped bombs that flattened their neighborhoods. They have lost homes, limbs, loved ones, dreams. All say that they would prefer to live with safety and dignity in their own country if they could. But they cannot.” Read more.

The Myth of the Muslim Country

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (political science), Boston Review

“We must go beyond criticizing Trump to challenge the deep-seated and widely held assumption, held across the political spectrum, that Muslims are naturally, even preternaturally, violent....In reality, religious affiliation does not predict political behavior, whether peaceful or violent. To assert that it does requires adhering to an untenable assumption about the capacity of religion to stand fully apart from history, law, and politics.” Read more.

Muslim Civil Rights Group Sues Over Constitutionality of Travel Ban

Eugene Kontorovich (law), WTTW Chicago Tonight

“There is absolutely no constitutional or legal obligation for America to take refugees from any particular countries, and the president has extraordinary discretion in which countries to take refugees from.”

Nominated for an Oscar, Barred From America

Hamid Naficy (communication), interviewed in The Atlantic

The Iranian film “The Salesman” is shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. But because of Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, the movie’s director won’t be attending the ceremony. To get a better sense of the cultural and geopolitical context of Farhadi’s recognition by the Oscars and his eventual boycott, The Atlantic spoke with Naficy, who has written several books on Iranian cinema and media. Read the interview.

Universities advise some students, scholars not to travel abroad

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (political science), quoted in the Chicago Tribune

Northwestern professor Elizabeth Shakman Hurd was scheduled to leave next month for Iran for a two-week seminar and tour to study politics, religion and other international issues....She said she will have to teach upcoming courses about Iran, including “International Politics and the Middle East,” without the firsthand knowledge she planned to bring home from her trip.

“This will have a chilling effect on academics in the United States that I think we cannot even begin to estimate at this point,” said Shakman Hurd, a political science professor. “It's going to really hamper our ability to do our jobs.” Read more.

A closer look at the fight over President Trump's immigration executive order

Jacqueline Stevens (political science), quoted in Fox WGXA

Jacqueline Stevens, a professor of political science and legal studies at Northwestern University, said the argument that the order violates existing immigration statutes could prove more persuasive than framing it as a violation of constitutional rights. The Supreme Court has generally given broad deference to the executive and legislative branches, so claiming Trump lacks the authority to act may not sway them. Read more.

Trump’s immigration order means bureaucrats have to decide who’s a “real” Christian

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (political science), Washington Post

“Trump has made clear he has in mind primarily Christians from the Middle East. If implemented, individuals who can show evidence of being persecuted as Christian will qualify for a fast lane into the United States. It would also mean that immigration officials would have to hone their theological skills — because they will be in charge of determining who belongs to what religion.” Read more.


Have you been published or featured in the wake of the executive order? Email Holly Worthy, digital communication specialist.

Migration, Religion, US Foreign Policy