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Ohio Universities Prepare International Students For Dealing With Trump Travel Ban

The sun rises on Harrison Hall on the campus of Miami University.
File photo
Harrison Hall on the campus of Miami University.

Colleges in Ohio's Miami Valley say they’re working to support international students affected by the Trump administration travel ban, advising them to evaluate their study plans before the fall semester begins.

The Supreme Court recently upheld by a 5-4 vote the ban for residents from seven countries, most with Muslim majorities.  

The travel ban – the third iteration, after two previous versions didn't hold up to legal challenges -- indefinitely blocks immigration visas for nearly all people from seven countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela. The order allows for some exceptions for student visa applicants under certain conditions.

Numbers from the University of Dayton, Miami University and Wright State University show the schools each have between 20-30 current or prospective students from the affected countries.

Molly Heideman, Miami University’s associate director of international student and scholar services department, cautions that travel could be risky for students from travel ban countries who are already in the United States and are seeking to study abroad or travel home for breaks.

“If they were to travel, they could have difficulty obtaining a new visa when they come back or have difficulty entering the U.S.,” Heideman says. “So, we would probably recommend if they are considering traveling to speak with an immigration attorney first.”

Under the order, people from most of the affected countries are allowed to apply for student visas to come to the U.S., but they will likely face extra scrutiny.

Heideman says no applications are currently being accepted from Syria. But she says having international students at American universities brings in diversity and global perspectives.

“We love having our international students here so we want them to be able to come and stay and study and also to be able to travel freely,” Heideman says. “So, we’re trying to support them the best that we can in light of this executive order."

Miami University officials report 11 actively enrolled students from countries included in the travel ban, and another 10 who have been admitted for the fall semester.

University of Dayton officials said they're working to assist international students who may be affected by the ban.

"We are connecting with approximately 30 current and prospective students who are affected by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding restrictions on immigration and travel to listen to their concerns and get more details on what they may be facing in the weeks and months ahead,” the school said in a statement. “As a University, we are committed to supporting all affected members of the campus community to the best of our ability through a variety of campus services." 

At Wright State University during the spring semester, says international education director Michelle Streeter-Ferrari, 21 students were from the affected countries, including two from Venezuela, one from Syria, 13 from Iran and five from Libya.

For the upcoming fall semester, "since students are on a student visa, they should be allowed to enter, however, we do caution students against traveling abroad if they are from one of the mentioned countries," Streeter-Ferrari said.

Wright State is directing international students to a dedicated resource webpage.