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Manchester, United Kingdom — 22-25 September 2009

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International students face increased scrutiny after US Supreme Court upholds travel ban

Jun 28, 2018

This week the US Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban. This latest version of the ban includes seven countries: North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Venezuela. The most severe restrictions are levied against residents of the five predominately Muslim nations.

Students from Syria and North Korea are now prohibited from studying in the US. However, at this time, students from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela, and Yemen are still allowed to utilise US F-, M-, and J-class study visas. The White House does advise that these students will face additional scrutiny during the application process.

Here is a breakdown of what the ban does by country:


US higher education and international student community reacts

Although the United States remains a top international study destination, foreign student enrolment has declined in recent years. The 5-4 ruling from the nation’s highest court brought swift outcry from both international education advocates and US Higher Education officials.

Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, said the decision will contribute “to the perception that this country is no longer a welcoming place for study and research by the world’s best and brightest international scholars and students.”

NAFSA Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy Jill Welch called the court decision a ‘giant step backward’.


“At a time when we should be making every effort to create connections and ties around the world through robust international exchange with all nations, especially those in the Middle East, the Supreme Court’s decision poses a grave threat to our national security and keeps us from building those necessary relationships abroad.  While universities and colleges work tirelessly to welcome international students and scholars, the chilling effect of this policy and the uncertainty for our international students and scholars will undoubtedly continue the current downturn in U.S. international student enrollment as the world wonders whether America will hold true to our values. Today, the United States can be seen as a country that bans people from our shores, not on the basis of what they have done, but for where they are from,” remarked Welch in a press release.

Brown University president Christina Paxson was one of the many university presidents who expressed concern for how the ban will impact international students and scholars.

Paxson told the Associated Press ‘the ruling will be used to prevent them from going to American universities to contribute to research, discovery and innovation.”