Monday, July 15, 2019
Walter Ewing for the American Immigration Council's Immigration Impact writes on the crackdown on Muslim students. The Trump administration is reducing student visa grants to students from Iran. When President Trump placed a travel ban on seven mostly Muslim-majority nations in 2017, Iranians seeking student or exchange visitor visas were supposed to be exempt from the ban. However, despite this exemption, many applications from Iranians are now effectively blocked under the ban’s “enhanced screening and vetting requirements.” Many applications from Iran are never approved or denied. Instead, students’ applications languish indefinitely in the bureaucratic limbo of “administrative processing.”
As a result, approvals to study in the United States have plummeted for Iranian students. The State Department has issued a mere 413 student visas to Iranians so far in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. Only 1,433 were issued in all of FY 2018. By way of comparison, 2,650 were approved in FY 2016.
Iran is not the only majority-Muslim nation witnessing a dramatic drop in the number of foreign students coming to the United States in recent years. Between the 2016-17 and the 2018-19 academic years, the number of students from Qatar fell by 20.6 percent and Saudi Arabia by 15.5 percent.