President Donald Trump’s latest immigration-related executive order, issued Friday, has already left some Ohio State students scrambling at airports.
Mohamad Zandian, a doctoral candidate in biochemistry at Ohio State, traveled to New York to pick up his wife, Parisa Fasihianifard, at John F. Kennedy International Airport. However, when he arrived, he was informed she was being denied access into the United States, according to the news outlet Mic. Originally expected to have to return to Iran, she has since been released and allowed into the U.S.
On Friday, President Trump initiated an executive order that suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees, and put a 3-month-long freeze on citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering the United States. Green-card and visa holders, as well as foreigners with certain dual citizenships, i.e. Canadian and Syrian, are also affected by the travel ban. Green-card holders — permanent residents legally allowed to work and live in the U.S. — were originally told they would have to apply for exceptions on a case-by-case basis to re-enter the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security, but the White House has since walked this back. Green-card holders will be allowed in the country, but Customs and Border Protection will have the discretion to detain and question “suspicious travelers from certain countries,” according to the New York Times.
“We are relieved that Parisa Fasihianifard has been released and we are grateful for the hard work and assistance from our elected officials and other partners in helping us to get this situation resolved,” OSU spokesman Chris Davey said in a statement. “However, we remain concerned about other members of the Ohio State community who might still be affected by this policy change and we remain committed to identifying those individuals and working to help them.”
OSU spokesman Ben Johnson told The Lantern on Saturday that the university is unsure of how many students and faculty could be affected by the executive order.
Late Saturday night, Ann Donnelly, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of the Moritz College of Law, ruled to block part of Trump’s executive order to prevent the federal government from deporting legal residents attempting to re-enter, such as Fasihianifard. The ruling came after the ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit against the ban, following a litany of lawsuits filed by immigration lawyers.
“I am in shock,” Zandian said in an interview with Mic. “This policy destroys everything good that we thought about the U.S. I, too, want safety and security for the U.S. But this is not the right way to maintain safety.”
In Zandian’s interview with Mic, he said that he had hoped to teach biochemistry in the U.S. after earning his doctorate. He said he now plans to pursue a future elsewhere because of Trump’s executive order.
In an email sent to students and faculty on Sunday, Drake said the university is concerned about the effects of the policy. He also said OSU is looking into finding and publicizing resources for students, faculty and staff as it tries to untangle the order, which has caused confusion among lawyers, government officials and travelers affected by it.
“Yesterday and this morning, we have worked actively and directly with elected representatives to do everything we can to clarify this situation and move forward to a rapid and just resolution, and we will continue to keep the university community informed,” Drake said. “Ohio State joins our colleagues — including those represented in the Association of American Universities and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities — in concern over the effects of this policy.”
Zandian did not immediately return a request for comment.
Update, 5:32 p.m.: This story was updated with the news that Parisa Fasihianifard was allowed into the U.S.