Updates and Information on the Federal Immigration Executive Order
New UCSIS Policy
On August 9, 2018, a new policy from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) took effect that relates specifically to individuals in F, J, and M nonimmigrant visa categories. ISO has prepared a summary of the policy memorandum, which is now published on the ISO website for Recent Immigration Actions. The intended implementation of this new policy remains somewhat unclear, but creates an opportunity for USCIS to review the entirety of an international student or exchange visitor’s immigration record and make a determination about whether that person has maintained valid immigration status for the duration of their program. This is possible only when an application for a new status or immigration benefit is filed with USCIS, although this is a common occurrence for many within the UR international community.
It is extremely important for our F-1 and J-1 populations, along with their dependent family members, to take every effort to maintain their valid immigration status at all times. A few reminders about these requirements include:
- Register full-time each academic term and maintain a full course of study, as indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019
- Do NOT work off-campus without prior written authorization from ISO
- Limit on-campus employment to a maximum of 20 hours per week during academic terms
- Obtain authorizations in advance for extensions, reduced course load, leave of absence, transfer to another school, etc.
- Report any change in address within 10 days of moving
In the coming weeks, ISO will be working with various departments and academic units throughout the University to offer opportunities for more review and discussion of this new policy. Please stay tuned for event information as it may be scheduled, or coordinate with your school or contact ISO to request such an event in your area.
US DACA Update
Limited Window Opens for DACA Renewals
Members of the University community who have previously been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or “DACA” should seriously consider applying for renewal in light of the recent announcement that USCIS has resumed accepting DACA renewal requests. Given ongoing legal challenges and legislative debates, there is no guarantee how long this window will remain open, so all who might potentially benefit from this opportunity are encouraged by the International Services Office (ISO) to consult with immigration experts and legal services who stand ready to advise and assist in this process.
Local resources include the Legal Aid Society of Rochester (lasroc.org; 585-232-4090) and the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County (vlsprochester.org; 585-232-3051). Assistance for those unable to afford the significant filing fee is available and ISO encourages those interested in helping to visit give.funderbolt.io/uofr/emergency-funding-for-daca-students. Contact ISO Director Cary Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-275-2866 for additional information.
On September 5, 2017, President Trump issued a statement regarding plans to rescind the Obama Administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This action is formalized in a memorandum, published the same date, from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entitled Rescission of the June 15, 2012, Memorandum Entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children”. The purpose of the memo is to instruct various government agencies about the rationale, mechanisms, and timeline associated with discontinuing the DACA program. ISO has summarized the main provisions of the memo and related guidance in the Immigration Action Summary.
For other resources and to submit any questions or concerns, please see the Recent Immigration Actions & Policies page.
Expanded Travel Ban Announced
On September 24, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proclamation, supplementing the March 6 Executive Order (13780), which had imposed a temporary ban on visa issuance and entry to the United States for nationals from six specified countries. The September 24 proclamation amended the list of countries affected (removing Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan and adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela) and changed the previous restrictions from temporary to indefinite.
This recent expansion of the travel ban is set to take effect on October 18, 2017. The impact on each country and the individuals seeking to travel to the United States from those countries is quite different, ranging from a relatively limited suspension of visitor visas for certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members to a sweeping suspension on entry to the United States of nationals, immigrant and nonimmigrant, from North Korea and Syria.
There will likely be forthcoming official clarifications on these restrictions as well as legal challenges that might impact how they will be interpreted and implemented. We encourage any student or scholar from the affected countries, especially those from the eight countries included in the recent proclamation (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen), to seek updated information and advice and to consult with an ISO advisor prior to traveling outside the United States or before doing anything that might affect their current immigration status.
Please visit the ISO’s Recent Immigration Actions page as well as the Office of Global Engagement’s Immigration Updates page for updates on this and other important immigration-related matters as they develop.
US Supreme Court Update
NOTE: Updates regarding the Supreme Court’s June 2018 ruling on travel will be shared here soon.
On June 26, 2017, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling that lifts some of the judicial limitations previously imposed on Executive Order 13780, which includes provisions to restrict citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country (see background). This ruling permits the government to enforce these travel restrictions within a limited scope. Specifically, the Supreme Court indicates that the order “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Examples in the ruling cite admitted students from the designated countries as having such a relationship with a US entity, as well as workers who have accepted an offer of employment in the US or a lecturer invited to address an American audience.
The University continues to monitor developments related to these Executive Orders and any resulting US agency policies or enforcement practices. At this time, it is our understanding that individuals with a formal and documented relationship with the University of Rochester should NOT be subject to the travel restrictions of EO 13780. We will continue University sponsorship and document issuance for all eligible foreign nationals.
Officials from the University’s International Services Office (ISO) continue to strongly recommend that students, scholars, and employees from the affected countries speak with an ISO staff member in advance of any international travel needs. The Global Engagement Immigration Updates page has full information on the University resources for students and employees to use, as well as all executive orders to date. ISO staff members can be reached at email@example.com.
Background Summary: President Trump signed Executive Order 13780 on March 6, 2017, replacing an earlier version (EO 13769) that was issued on January 27th and faced previous legal challenges. Prior to the effective date of the new order on March 16th, Federal courts issued injunctions to prevent the government from enforcing certain travel restrictions and suspension of refugee admissions. The cases were appealed to the Supreme Court, which has agreed to consider arguments this fall and to allow enforcement of the EO with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a US person or entity. For more details, please reference the official Supreme Court opinion in this matter.
University Statement on Presidential Executive Order
“Yesterday, President Trump signed a new Executive Order that restricts citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who do not currently have a valid visa from entering the United States. This order replaces EO 13769 issued on January 27, 2017, and will go into effect on March 16, 2017. The University is continuing to monitor developments related to these Executive Orders to assess their impact on the University of Rochester community and future University students. We will continue University sponsorship and document issuance for all eligible foreign nationals.
“International faculty, students, and staff contribute in innumerable ways to the academic and cultural life of the University of Rochester and make our campus ever better. The University is stronger because of their presence here, and our community and our world benefit from their contributions. We are committed to providing support in every lawful way we can.
“Officials from the University’s International Services Office (ISO) continue to strongly recommend that students, scholars, and employees from the affected countries who plan to travel internationally speak with an ISO staff member before leaving the U.S. The Global Engagement Immigration Updates page has full information on the University resources for students and employees to use, as well as all executive orders to date. ISO staff members can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
WATCH: Town Hall on Immigration Issues and the University Community
February 1, 2017
AAU President Memorandum
The Association of American Universities (AAU), of which the University of Rochester is a member, filed an amicus brief. The impact to all schools, including the UofR, is included.
UR Issued Statements
Statement from President Joel Seligman
Statement from President Joel Seligman, Provost and Senior Vice President for Research Robert L. Clark, and CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine, and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Mark Taubman
Statement from Vice Provost for Global Engagement, Jane Gatewood
International Services Office: Rely on experienced professionals familiar with current immigration and travel permissions for planning and support. Referrals to qualified immigration attorneys available.
Contact: International Services Office, email@example.com, (585) 275-2866, 213 Morey Hall
ISO Summaries: Executive Orders & Other Actions: The ISO has created brief descriptions outlining important details of recent Executive Orders on immigration policy and other actions that impact our international community.
Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center (BIC) exists to promote cultural awareness and engagement, educate on issues of identity, culture, and diversity, and provide opportunities for collaboration among students, staff, and faculty.
Academic & Other Advisers: Consider contacting your school/department for support and referrals to other University resources. Depending on your University affiliation, such offices could include:
- College Center for Advising Services (Molly Jolliff)
- Arts, Sciences & Engineering Graduate Studies Office
- Simon Business School Student Engagement
- School of Medicine & Dentistry Graduate Education & Post-Doctoral Affairs
- Eastman School of Music Academic Affairs
- Warner School of Education Academic Affairs
- Eastman Institute of Oral Health Registrar’s Office
- School of Nursing Student Affairs
- For faculty, researchers, and staff, you may connect with resources through Employee Assistance Services.
University Counseling Center: Services are available for a wide variety of challenges that can include anxiety, depression, school-related problems, family problems, and grief. UCC has a professional on-call 24 hours per day for emergencies. Visits are confidential.
Contact: University Counseling Center, UHS Building, 738 Library Road, (585) 275-3113
Contact: CARE Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, (585) 275-4085
Interfaith Chapel: Chaplains are available by appointment or often by visiting the Interfaith Chapel any day between 10 and 6 (and frequently later). Visits are confidential.
Contact: The Rev. Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough, Director, Religious and Spiritual Life, Interfaith Chapel,
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd., (585) 275-8422, email@example.com
Support and Discussion
Know-Your-Rights Information Session
With spring break and anticipated student travel next week, the University’s International Services Office is hosting an information session for DACA/undocumented students and any interested allies on Thursday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. The information session will also include updates from legal experts on the administration’s attempt to rescind DACA six months ago and the status of the federal district court order enjoining that attempted rescission and mandating that the government continue to process DACA renewals.
To obtain login instructions for this session, which will be presented in an anonymous Zoom Meeting format, please send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Area community organizations that provide services and support to refugees resettled in Rochester:
- Rochester Global Connections brings local residents together with international college students and visitors to develop friendships and promote international understanding. Newly arrived international students in Rochester are matched with local residents, called Friendship Hosts, who provide practical help and social activities.
- Student Organizations/Campus Club Connection: There are many UR student & staff groups that are affected and passionate about these issues. Connect with your peers to learn and engage.
- New York State Emergency Immigration Resource Hotline: For detained traveler assistance and other resources through NYS Department of State, call 888-769-7243.
Legal Resources: Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Volunteer Legal Service Project of Monroe County
The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) has set up The Science Solidarity List, a list of scientists offering temporary bench or desk space, library access and possibly even accommodation for US-based scientists who are stranded abroad due to the Executive Order.
If you know a US-based scientist affected by this ban, you may direct them to this list of scientists who may be able to offer some assistance.
For more information, visit The Solidarity List: http://www.embo.org/science-solidarity
- As a foreign national, can I travel domestically (within the US)?
- Can I travel internationally? Will I be able to renew my visa? (For students who are not from the 7 countries listed.)
- Will I be able to renew my visa? (For students who are not from the 7 countries listed.)
- UR indicated that it will not release any information except what is required. Can you expand on what that info is that will be released?
- Will new countries be added? Which ones are likely? Should all non-citizens stay in the US just in case?
- Will UR continue to issue I-20s and DS-2019 and other sponsorship documents for these 7 countries?
- Will the University continue to admit students from these 7 countries?
- Is it possible for the university to make a plan to continue research/studies abroad for students who can’t come back?
- What would happen if a student, faculty or staff member gets stuck at the border (i.e. country of origin or travel from one of 7 countries but not a citizen of one of those 7 countries)? Could they contact the school?
- What if anything has the university done to support ongoing legal orders? Would the university take any legal action against the US government?
- I’m from one of the banned countries, and I’m graduating in a month or so. I have a job offer from an employer for an H1B. Can they proceed with that for me?
- If I am prohibited from traveling and the school year ends, will the university provide assistance for staying in the USA over the summer?
- Q: As a foreign national, can I travel domestically (within the US)?
- A: Yes. Always carry valid immigration documentation even if you are traveling domestically. We have no indication from the executive order that there should be any issue for domestic travel. If you were to be asked questions it is important you can demonstrate your ability to be in the country legally. For international students, that is: your I-20/DS-2019, your I-94, and your passport (with visa if applicable). For staff, the documents vary but you want to be able to demonstrate your legal and professional relationship with the university.
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- Q: Can I travel internationally? Will I be able to renew my visa? (For students who are not from the 7 countries listed.)
- A: Yes. There is always risk in travel. If you are prepared and you have your documentation we don’t necessarily see any issues – except for the Visa Interview Waiver program, which has been suspended.
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- Q: Will I be able to renew my visa? (For students who are not from the 7 countries listed.)
- A: Yes, you will be able to renew your visa, but we do anticipate visa processing delays.
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- Q: UR indicated that it will not release any information except what is required. Can you expand on what that info is that will be released?
- A: We have to report some information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program database (SEVIS) for international students in the US on our visa sponsorship. Beyond that, we do not share information. Info in SEVIS includes citizenship, DOB, passport name, and the rest is mostly academic: funding sources, registration, local residential address. We will continue to maintain that reporting obligation because it is how we maintain legal status for our students.
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- Q: Will new countries be added? Which ones are likely? Should all non-citizens stay in the US just in case?
- A: There is a 90 day period in which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Department of State (DOS) review requirements for entry for all countries. The order indicates that if countries fail to comply, they may be added to the list. It is possible that countries could be added to the list if they are determined to not comply. In approximately 25 days we should learn if any other countries will be added.
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- Q: Will UR continue to issue I-20s and DS-2019 and other sponsorship documents for these 7 countries?
- A: Yes, we will issue documents to any individual who meets requirements of the immigration regulations and qualifications to be sponsored as a student or scholar. The burden is on the government to evaluate that candidate from a visa issuance perspective. Issuance does not mean individuals will automatically be able to obtain entry to US or benefits through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but you will not have any problem getting documents or assistance in preparing application.
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- Q: Will the University continue to admit students from these 7 countries?
- A: Yes, we will admit eligible students, subject to application guidelines and eligibility. The university does not consider country of citizenship as criteria for admission. Once a student is admitted, if entry into the US will be a problem the department will reach out to ISO.
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- Q: Is it possible for the university to make a plan to continue research/studies abroad for students who can’t come back?
- A: Once students are matriculated if they are having difficulties completing their program in-person, accommodations will be reviewed and made on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by their academic program and school. The University is supportive of such possibilities.
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- Q: What would happen if a student, faculty or staff member gets stuck at the border (i.e. country of origin or travel from one of 7 countries but not a citizen of one of those 7 countries)? Could they contact the school?
- A: Absolutely – please contact ISO at 585-275-2866. We have routinely spoken to immigration officers at the airport and borders. We also have staff available after-hours if we have travelers running into those circumstances. Call public safety, 585-275-3333 – they will contact an advisor.Our Travel assistance providers can also offer legal referral services and help you contact the consulate office, make travel arrangements etc.
Available to faculty, staff, and students traveling on University business (includes inbound international students and scholars, dependent children, and spouses):
1 (888) 987-5920 from U.S.
1 (240) 330-1571 from International / accepts collect
Available to faculty, staff and students traveling on University sponsored/supported international travel (includes dependent children & spouses):
Mercer Assistance Services
1 (855) 327-1469 from U.S.
1 (312) 935-3542 from international / accepts collect
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- Q: What if anything has the university done to support ongoing legal orders? Would the university take any legal action against the US government?
- A: There have been a number of lawsuits started against the executive order. Some have been instituted by states, which are more effective parties than a single institution like UR. We are collaborative and there are consortia-based organizations like the American Association of Universities where we can combine our resources with other institutions, and we will continue to work with these organizations and our peers. In addition, there are organizations within the country that exist to fight racism such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
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- Q: I’m from one of the banned countries, and I’m graduating in a month or so. I have a job offer from an employer for an H1B. Can they proceed with that for me?
- A: There has been no official statement, but we still do not know if they are going to give immigration benefits (such as conversion to a new visa type) from USCIS. But definitely, proceed with the job offer.
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- Q: If I am prohibited from traveling and the school year ends, will the university provide assistance for staying in the USA over the summer?
- A: The university will provide assistance to students who need accommodation over the summer if they are restricted from traveling. More details on this support will be available should the need arise.
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