Date:April 1, 2019
To:All Students, Faculty and Staff
From:Diana Natalicio, President
Subject:Message to the UTEP Community
Office of the President: Memorandum
Dr. Natalicio initials

On Friday, March 29, President Trump stated that he may decide to close parts or all of the southern border as early as next week. This could include the Ports of Entry between Cd. Juárez and El Paso. In addition, CBP Officers have been reassigned from local Ports of Entry to other areas of the border, leading to major delays in current pedestrian and vehicular crossings. UTEP students, faculty and staff have already reported major delays at the bridges, from 2-5 hours when driving, and 2 hours or more when walking.

All of us at UTEP are dismayed by the negative impact of these CBP actions on our community. We fully understand that the current delays at the bridges, and the possible closure of the border, are disrupting many lives, and adding to the stress and anxiety associated with efforts to cope with them. UTEP is deeply committed to creating a supportive climate that minimizes the negative impact on our students, faculty and staff, both now and in the event of a complete border closure. With this goal in mind, a response team has been mobilized led by Catie McCorry-Andalis, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, and Sandy Vasquez, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, to provide support and institutional resources for students, staff and faculty who are impacted by the current situation. Members of the team include John Wiebe Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Matt Crouse, Assistant Dean of Students; Victoria Suttmiller, Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life; Dania Brandford-Calvo, Executive Director of International Programs and Study Abroad; Brian Sneed, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services; and Arizve Ochoa-Retana, Director of Workforce Management.

This team is coordinating efforts across the campus in a variety of ways, including:

  • Working with faculty to ensure that they understand the many issues faced by students who suffer long delays at the bridges, and providing faculty the support they may need to administer coursework via blackboard or email, thereby to enable students who are unable to cross to complete assignments while in Juárez.
  • Temporarily providing on-campus housing for students, faculty and staff, if they are unable to cross from El Paso to their homes in Juárez.
  • Arranging for in-person and, as appropriate, virtual counseling and immigration advising for those who are unable to come to the campus.
  • Working with on-campus employers and those in the community who employ our students on Curricular Practical Training, to ensure that they understand the delays occurring at the bridges and, should it be necessary, the implications of border closure on students’ access to their workplaces.

In addition, a website ( has been created to provide current information on the status of the ports of entry (open or closed), resources and support services available to students, faculty and staff, and Frequently Asked Questions.

We value each and every member of our UTEP community and deeply regret the impact of the current situation on you and your family and friends. Please be assured that we are monitoring this situation very closely, and that we will do all within our power to ensure that you continue to have the opportunity to achieve your educational and professional goals at UTEP.

El Paso, Tx, 79968-0500. (915) 747-5555. Fax: (915) 747-5069