President Donald Trump issued an executive order this past week which, among other things, temporarily suspended immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries. Of Ohio State’s 6,400 international students, there are 94 from three of these countries, according to Ohio State records.
OSU spokesman Chris Davey said in an email that six undergraduate students, eight master’s students, 64 doctoral students and one American Language Program student, along with 15 visiting scholars hold “non-immigrant status.”
The students, who are here on visas, are from Iran, Libya and Iraq. All of the 15 scholars are from Iran.
“Ohio State is focused on providing resources and working actively and quickly to help any member of our community who might be affected by the recent immigration policy change,” Davey said. “We are unwavering in our commitment to diversity and inclusion and the value that members of the international community continue to bring to our pursuit and sharing of knowledge.”
If the students were to leave the country, they would not be allowed back into the U.S. On Saturday, the wife of an OSU graduate student was detained, and almost sent back to Iran, when she arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. She was later released and allowed back into the U.S.
Confusion reigned in the early hours of the executive order when permanent residents of the U.S. — legally allowed to work and live in the country — were detained at airports and told they would have to be sent back, or weren’t allowed to board planes to the U.S. in the first place.
Following court orders and back-and-forths between different federal agencies, courts and the White House, green-card holders from the affected countries are now exempt from the travel ban, although U.S. Customs and Border Protection still has authority to detain individuals whom they deem suspicious.
“(OSU) enrolls and employs many members of the international community who may be impacted, including legal permanent residents (green-card holders) and others,” Davey said.
In an email sent to students and faculty on Sunday, University President Michael Drake said OSU is committed to protecting the information of all students, including immigration status, unless required by law to share that information.
“We admit students without regard to race, religion, national origin or immigration status, and undocumented students are entitled to all of the rights and privileges of other students at Ohio State,” Drake said.