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Travel Ban Sparks Uncertainty On Some Miami Valley College Campuses

Wright State university
Jess Mador

Hundreds of college students from countries included in the Trump administration’s updated travel ban are facing uncertainty over their residency in the Miami Valley. The latest version of the travel ban is set to take effect October 18.

Under the executive order, existing international students from the eight mostly Muslim-majority countries with current, valid travel documents will be allowed to remain in the United States.

But prospective students from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea and Yemen could be barred from attending college in the U.S. in the future.

Molly Heidemann, associate director of Miami University’s International Student and Scholar Services department, says many international students are concerned about their academic careers in the Dayton area.

“I think that just takes a mental and emotional toll and on top the usual stresses of being a student, studying here in the U.S. in a foreign culture, just having all that uncertainty, not knowing when you’ll see your family," she says. "I imagine that that’s very challenging.”

According to a report compiled by Miami’s Office of Institutional Research, in 2015, Miami University had 18 students from the affected countries out of more than 2,000 international students.

While the population affected by the travel ban is relatively small, Heidemann says each and every international student’s experience on Miami’s campus matters.

Officials from Miami University and Wright State University tell WYSO they are continuing to process paperwork for students covered by the updated travel ban, which removes Sudan from the list of countries with restricted access to the U.S., but in its place, adds Chad, Venezuela and North Korea.

The administration has stated that the new restrictions are indefinite and additionally, are condition, not time, based.

The Associated Press reports two lawsuits have been filed in New York and Maryland federal courts contesting the travel ban’s restrictions, alleging they are discriminatory against Muslims and violate the U.S. Constitution.