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With New Academic Year Approaching, Universities and Colleges Must Prepare for Possible Immigration Issues for Foreign and Students Studying Abroad

Colored pencils lined up

Universities and colleges across the United States must add an additional task to their preparations for the start of the 2017-2018 Academic Year: the Trump Travel Ban.

As we previously reported, the travel ban remains in place for those from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, and Libya, unless there is a bona fide relationship with either a person or an entity in the United States.

The administration defined a “bona fide relationship” with a “person” as including only spouses, parents, children, and siblings.  Fiancés, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and first cousins were later added to the list, when determining admissibility of a visa applicant or a person seeking admission at an airport, seaport, or border crossing.

The definition lacks any clarification of “a bona fide relationship” with a United States “entity.”  Until now, the focus has been on what defines a “family relationship.”  There has been no real guidance as to what constitutes an “entity.”  How can one prove a “bona fide relationship?”  How far can CBP go at an airport?  Can a student’s cell phone be seized and reviewed?  Is there a right to counsel at the border?  What do we do when at midnight, a student is detained, alone, at an airport?

Additionally, many colleges and universities have students studying abroad in hundreds of countries across the globe.  In the climate that exists today, access to the right advice and information is crucial.  To be prepared, proactive measures are absolutely necessary.

With undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, medical, legal, business, and students from across the globe about to embark on their first or continued experience with the United States, and American students embarking on educational experiences around the world, the sponsor must be prepared to meet the challenges that may follow in the days, weeks, and months to come.

If you have questions about this post, your rights, or any other immigration law issues, please contact me at rglahoud@nmmlaw.com.