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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

IU holds immigration policy information sessions for international students

Universities across the country are looking for ways to help international students who may be impacted by President Trump's travel ban.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - On the Indiana University Bloomington campus, international students tell us they have always felt politically safe here. Tonight, the IU community rallied to make sure that continues.

Scores of students, workers, community members and their families showed support Tuesday night.

"Who who who Hoosiers, support our international students" was the message on a sign in the crowd, one of many signs lining a student union hallway.

"It's been very stressful and the situation has been very uncertain," said graduate student Pouyan Shahidi.

Saeed Moadel, an IU employee, agreed. "Very tense, very stressful and full of uncertainty about my situation."

Both men are from Iran, one of the seven countries affected by the Trump travel ban. Both attended tonight's meeting to learn more about where they stand under the 90-day order.

The major message from IU to students and staff from those 7 countries was that IU remains inclusive and will back them.

But Dr. Christopher Viers, Associate VP for International Services, urged international students and staff to check travel plans with his office. "They should not travel outside of the country because if they do during this 90 days, they won't be able to return."

At a time of airport protests against the ban, he told international students that some local residents are were already calling IU, offering space in their homes for students who may not be able to travel home this summer.

"It really limits my ability to plan for the future," said Shahidi. "I had a couple of international conferences to attend. I'm giving up on them. So professionally it has been difficult for me."

He told us he may need to find a summer job.

"I haven't met my family in seven years," Moadeli said. A planned trip home this summer may be off.

"How can people just throw away all the goodness of being kind and hospitable to refugees and immigrants," Moadeli said. "And start this campaign of, really, hate."

In addition, for students and staff not from the named seven countries, new visa requirements mean they must begin applying for new visas much further in advance, and the US no longer allows waivers of visa interviews.