A group of University of Kentucky faculty and staff from other countries gathered on Friday to show the importance of immigration to higher education and the broader community in the wake of recent travel bans proposed by the Trump administration.
“The basic idea was to show how much immigration contributes to the community and higher education,” said Christina Alcalde, a professor in the gender and women’s studies department who organized the event. Alcalde was born in Peru. “Immigration affects all of us because we contribute so much to learning and innovation, and we help reflect the reality of the United States.”
About 50 UK employees, most of them faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, gathered for a photo in order to capture that “reality,” Alcalde said. A second photo included first generation Americans, whose parents immigrated to the U.S.
The event was also aimed at furthering discussion about immigration as President Donald Trump fights court challenges to his second immigration executive order, which would temporarily block all refugees and people from seven Muslim countries.
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According to the Institute of International Education, the number of international scholars in the United States has increased from 115,098 in the 2009-10 academic year to 124,861 in the 2014-15 academic year. At UK, faculty are not tracked by their birthplace.