International students at The University of New Mexico have been affected by the recent Executive Order signed by President Trump Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
The Executive Order, which restricts visa issuance and entry to the United States for individuals who are citizens of seven specific countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, affects those who are trying to apply for U.S. visas and those visa holders trying to enter the U.S.
There are approximately a dozen UNM international students studying abroad this semester, with half a dozen on education abroad programs and others conducting research or on general travel. Not all of them are from affected countries, but if the executive orders become more far reaching they may be impacted as well.
International students who are currently in the United States from the seven countries covered by the executive order are also impacted as their mobility to travel out of the U.S. has been impeded. If they leave it is unclear whether or not they will be allowed to reenter. Similarly, visits from family and friends from their home countries is currently not an option.
The order does not require legally present individuals to leave the US. Citizens of those countries, who wish to return to the US, should not plan to travel abroad at this time. Additionally, students should not plan to travel outside of the US without consulting with an advisor in UNM Global Education Office (GEO).
The order also requires the reinstatement of mandatory in-person visa interviews for all visa applicants, which may mean delays for all those who currently have expired visas and who must obtain new visas to reenter the US when they go abroad.
The UNM GEO recommends that international students and scholars who will need to apply for a visa to reenter the US plan sufficient time for an in-person interview/appointment at a US consulate abroad should it be required.
Those who have valid visas in their passport, who have no connection to the countries in question, and who carry all required documents with signatures when they travel abroad should not be affected. GEO highly recommends checking with one of their advisors before you travel abroad if you have questions or concerns.
“Given the rapidly shifting national landscape, the Global Education Office wants to reaffirm it's committed to informing and supporting our international students and scholars at UNM,” said Nicole Tami, executive director, Global Education Initiatives. “We will stay abreast of any policy changes and communicate those in a timely manner, working in collaboration with upper administration to ensure that the University is attuned to the needs and concerns of our international community.”
Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) is available for students whom may need support or counseling during this difficult time.
“We want to assure you that UNM and the GEO office are fully in support of our international students and scholars from all countries and we want you to feel welcome here,” added Tami.
UNM officials are following the developing situation closely and will provide additional information as it becomes available.