Immigrant and Refugee Students

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order declaring suspension of the US Refugee Admission Program for 120 days, and declared an indefinite ban on admission to Syrian refugees. The executive order also suspends admission into the United States for 90 days for individuals from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. This broad order may also impact the lives of permanent residents or individuals present in the US but who are not citizens. Many students who study abroad or study in the United States from abroad are likely to be affected by this executive order, so it is crucial that students who fall under any of these categories know their rights. 

On February 3, 2017, a federal judge suspended the executive order, meaning that foreigners are free to travel to the United States if they have valid visas. However, the Trump Administration is appealing that decision and should a higher court side with the government, the travel bans could go into effect again. For additional information on the status of the appeals process, please visit NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

NACAC encourages you to speak with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals–accredited representative if you are working with immigrant or refugee students who are worried about their future.

The following organizations and affiliates may be useful resources for any questions you may have regarding this executive order, finding immigration lawyers, or navigating the international college admission process:

Admission Professionals 

Individuals Applying to US Institutions

  • International ACAC, for a list of higher education institutions that have said that they are still accepting applications from those students impacted by the order.
  • International Higher Education Consulting Blog, for a list of university/college and higher education organization/association responses to the executive order.

Students and Families

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  • Write to your representatives and encourage them to publicly oppose the immigration ban.

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