How Trump's Muslim Ban Is Affecting Students From Countries Not On The List
Much has already been said about President Donald Trump’s executive order that barred citizens belonging to seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. To speak further on the issue would ostensibly be redundant. However, while the American and prominent international media have given a great deal of attention to the plight of citizens of those seven countries who intended to travel to the U.S. but no longer can, not much discussion has taken place regarding how citizens from other Muslim-majority countries have been affected by the order. Citizens of countries like Pakistan and Jordan who intended to travel to the U.S. for work, education or leisure are reconsidering their plans, and those currently in the U.S. no longer want to leave in fear that they will not be able to return if Trump adds their country to the list. Despite the fact that the ban has been temporarily blocked by the restraining order issued by US District Judge James Robart, Trump’s statements about issuing a new travel ban continues to generate panic and fear.
For days after Trump signed the order, the media in Pakistan was in a frenzy. Not only was there shock that Trump actually went through with his election promise, but also rising concern that the country would soon be added to the list. Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, published an article on January 30 – three days after Trump signed Executive Order 13769 – urging Pakistanis to be cautious. An excerpt from that article says: “Pakistani citizens who are currently in the United States on F student visas, H-1B visas, J visas (usually issued to resident physicians and exchange programs) should not travel out of the United States for the next several months if they wish to return there. Those who hold these visas and are currently in Pakistan and wish to return to the United States should perhaps return immediately. Those Pakistanis who are legal permanent residents/US green card holders and wish to return and live in the United States must also return as soon as possible. If the ban is extended to Pakistan, none of these categories of people (save US citizens) will be able to return to the United States” (Zakaria).
New York University students from Muslim-majority countries are rightly concerned. They fear they will be prohibited from returning to the U.S. to complete their programs of study should they leave the country before graduating. Thus far, the university has not issued a meaningful statement addressing these concerns. Worried parents are frantically communicating with their children currently in the U.S., hoping that NYU will issue a statement saying that it will either hold the spots of students who are unable to return to the U.S., or that it will allow them to continue studying at a satellite campus or study-away site.
At the moment, the best advice to N.Y.U. students who fear their countries will be added to the list is to stay put in the U.S. until Trump definitively loses the legal battle surrounding the ban or the university clearly informs them that they will be able to continue their program of study. Until then, all they can do is hope that their countries are not included and that their loved ones are not prevented from coming to visit them. Their situation is bleak and it does not seem as if it will improve anytime soon.
-- Ali Hassan, NYU Student.
“Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal Loss.” New York Times. February 9, 2017. Web. February 20, 2017
Zakaria, Rafia. “What does Trump's Executive Order mean for Pakistanis?” Dawn. January 30, 2017. Web. February 20, 2017