Travel ban leaves students with uncertain futures

About 25 of Tulane University’s international students, faculty and staff have been adversely affected by President Trump’s travel ban, according to Kristy Magner, director of the university’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

The individuals are mostly PhD students and mostly from Iran. Iranian individuals who hold valid student or exchange visitor visas can leave and re-enter the United States, but it is risky for them to travel, especially if they need to renew their visa. Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the ban.

Magner added that OISS contacted all the students from the countries named in the ban, and that those individuals have access to free immigration consultation from the Tulane Legal Assistance Program.

“Having a global community at Tulane provides all of us the opportunity to better understand the world and our place in it.”

Kristy Magner

Ali Enami, a PhD candidate in the School of Liberal Arts, studies the socioeconomic effects of fiscal policies. He wanted to travel home to Iran once his PhD is complete in July but Enami is only eligible for a student visa.

“Now my only option is to wait until I have a green card to be able to go back and visit my family. So basically I was hoping to see my family within a year, and now I have no idea when I will be able to do so,” he said.

The travel ban also limited his job search.

“Any academic job requires a campus visit, and my inability to travel severely impacted my ability to search for jobs in the international market,” he added.

Saleh Babazadeh, a researcher and PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, was unexpectedly stuck for five weeks in Democratic Republic of Congo while his visa processed. He also learned that his parents’ visas were denied, so they will not be able to travel from Iran to attend his graduation.

“International students and scholars are a vital part of the Tulane University community and are leaders in our mission of innovative scholarship, research and discovery that benefits all citizens of the world,” said Mike Fitts, president of the university, in a statement. “Tulane joins presidents of the Association of American Universities and higher education leaders throughout the country in expressing profound dismay over the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration for travelers from certain countries.”

“Having a global community at Tulane provides all of us the opportunity to better understand the world and our place in it,” Magner said.

Tulane community members can show support for the international community by donating to the International/Undocumented Student Emergency Fund. For more information, please email