University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

A Message From ISSS Regarding the Recent Changes in Immigration Policy

International Student and Scholars sent the following emails to all international students, scholars, and employees on February 10, February 4, and January 29. ISSS is working to update this page to include more information about how the executive order on immigration impacts international students, scholars, and employees.

ISSS has also worked with offices across campus to put together a webpage on the Campus Climate website that answers some of the questions most frequently being asked by the UMN community. For more information, see


Friday, February 10 Message

Dear international students, scholars, and employees,

We want to keep you updated on the current status of the executive order on immigration. We are happy to report that yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District upheld an earlier judge's decision to temporarily block enforcement of the executive order on immigration. Basically, this means that key portions of the executive order cannot be enforced at this time. To be clear, this is not the final decision on the executive order and further legal action is predicted; however, for now, the following is allowed:

  • Individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen CAN enter the United States with valid visas
  • Refugees (including those from Syria) CAN come to the U.S.
  • Applications for visas to enter the U.S. WILL continue to be processed (note that recent changes now require in-person interviews)

This announcement provides some measure of relief to the upheaval that the executive order has brought to so many in our community. However, due to the evolving nature of this situation, we do still recommend caution if you are considering travel outside the U.S. and encourage you to contact ISSS with questions or concerns on how this impacts you directly.

As international educators who fundamentally and profoundly believe in the positive power of educational exchange, we close with Senator J. William Fulbright's words from the 40th anniversary of the Fulbright program:

Of all the joint ventures in which we might engage, the most productive, in my view, is educational exchange. I have always had great difficulty--since the initiation of the Fulbright scholarships in 1946--in trying to find the words that would persuasively explain that educational exchange is not merely one of those nice but marginal activities in which we engage in international affairs, but rather, from the standpoint of future world peace and order, probably the most important and potentially rewarding of our foreign-policy activities.

Barbara Kappler, Ph.D.

Saturday, February 4 Message

Dear international students, scholars, and employees,

We are writing to give you a brief update on two positive developments regarding the executive order on immigration.

The state of Washington filed a lawsuit this week against the executive order, and it was joined by the state of Minnesota. The federal judge announced Friday night that a temporary restraining order is in place. The temporary restraining order effectively blocks the immigration order from being enforced nationwide, according to the New York Times. Additionally, "(A)irlines that had been stopping travelers from boarding planes to the U.S. were told by the government ... to begin allowing them to fly." The Trump administration can apply for an emergency stay of enforcement of that order. This ruling is temporary, putting the actions contained in the executive order on hold until all parties can make full arguments, or until the government wins a stay of enforcement.

In other important news, USCIS released this statement about applications that they are processing:

"USCIS continues to adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the United States regardless of their country of origin, and applications and petitions of lawful permanent residents outside the U.S. USCIS also continues to adjudicate applications and petitions for individuals outside the U.S. whose approval does not directly confer travel authorization."

We have heard your concerns and understand the anxiety that this executive order has caused. More than 260 students, scholars, and employees attended the gatherings we had this week to discuss the executive order, and many more came in to talk to our advisers and counselors during Walk-In Hours and appointments. Please know we will continue to advocate on your behalf, offer support, and do our best to keep you informed when new information becomes available.

For more information about the executive order, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the Campus Climate website.

Please stay connected to one another and share the ways this situation is impacting you. Having your friends, classmates, colleagues, and community members aware of the impact can be of significant help right now.

Barbara Kappler, Ph.D.

Sunday, January 29 Message

Dear International Students, Scholars, and Employees,

We in ISSS are profoundly troubled by the new executive order on immigration signed by President Trump late on Friday. We are reaching out to you and the rest of the international student, scholar, and employee population to tell you that we are reviewing the order and the ongoing developments to assess possible impacts and be able to provide you with the best advice. We have also reached out directly to those whose country has been specifically listed in the executive order (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen).

We encourage you to continue your studies and activities as normal, but until more is known, we caution against travel outside the U.S. for those from countries specifically listed in the executive order. For everyone else, we recommend that you consult an ISSS adviser if you have specific travel concerns. Remember that ISSS is an important resource for you, and we encourage you to contact us with questions about traveling outside of the U.S. or other visa-related issues, or if you would like to speak with a counselor about your concerns.

Be assured that the University's commitment to you and to international education has not changed, and we will challenge these negative policies. We believe that the entire campus and the Twin Cities community is a better place because you are here. 


Barbara Kappler, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
International Student and Scholar Services