International Students Offered Free Housing

Ithaca College in New York is offering free housing over the summer break to its international students who could be affected by President Trump’s travel ban.

President Trump’s executive order suspends travel to the United States from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and halts the U.S refugee program for 120 days. Federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii  have challenged the legality of the ban while it remains on hold across the nation according to CNN. A judge in Virginia will consider the order on May 8.

Although visa-holders who are authorized to travel to the U.S. are technically not affected, many are cautious about leaving for fear of not getting back in.

“Although the EO purportedly will not automatically invalidate current unexpired visas, individuals from the six countries should be advised to refrain from exiting the U.S. when possible” said immigration law expert Peter Asaad, Partner at Quarles and Brady LLP in Washington.

The liberal arts school has 121 students from 51 countries, including a Syrian and an Iranian, according to The Ithacan.

Although the Student Governance Council passed the bill to allow free housing during the summer for international students from those from countries on the travel ban list, students from other countries who don’t feel safe traveling can also apply for the housing, said Diana Dimitrova, director of International Student Services, to the The Ithacan.

Students taking up the offer will be housed in the same accommodations used for summer students, so there should be no significant cost added, according to The Ithacan.

“We thought that it was important to give the students who didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to go home … [the opportunity] to be able to stay,” said Isabella Grullon, international senator for SGC, to The Ithacan.

“We value diversity because it enriches our community and the myriad experiences that characterize an Ithaca College education,” Ithaca College says about the importance of diversity on their website.

Other schools have pushed back on the Trump travel ban. Thirty-one universities  filed an amicus brief with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over their concern about banning international students from American colleges and universities.

“By prohibiting entry by persons from the six affected countries, the Executive Order divides current students and their families, impairs the ability of American universities to draw the finest international talent, and inhibits the free exchange of ideas,” the brief said.

Schools in the Toronto District, Canada, are suspending trips to the United States over concerns that Canadian citizens who were not born in the country may have difficulty crossing the border.

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Devon Sgubin

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