U.S. Immigration News and Travel Bans
Cornell supports its entire community of students, faculty, and staff. The university offers many resources to guide and support those with questions and concerns about recent U.S. executive actions and statements relating to immigration and travel bans — and the current and future implications for student, faculty, and staff activities and our international programs.
A Message for Cornell's International Community
As a global institution of higher education, Cornell values the contributions of international students, faculty, and staff. International diversity challenges all members of an academic community to consider and evaluate their assumptions, beliefs, and biases; to broaden their perspectives; to consider new approaches and novel solutions.
There are more than 6,000 gifted, accomplished, and motivated international students and scholars studying, teaching and conducting research at Cornell. They contribute to our success as a leading world university. We rely on the mobility of our international students and scholars across campuses and international borders. Ensuring their safety is of utmost importance.
In response to the initial restrictions placed by U.S. President Trump on foreign nationals’ travel into the United States — and the continuing changes in those regulations — Cornell joins with other American universities to continue to advocate for our international students, faculty, and staff. We want to protect their ability to come to the U.S. and then leave the country to visit their families, attend international symposia or conferences, or engage in overseas field research without encountering undue impediments to their return.
We want all of our international students, faculty, and staff to experience a welcoming, caring campus community.
Cornell provides the following resources and information to assist all members of the university community.
Information Related to Visas and Travel
- Cornell’s Office of Global Learning/International Services is here to help and support all members of the Cornell community: students, staff, and faculty. The staff can offer visa and immigration advice, and generally answers all questions international students have related to maintaining legal status, studying, or working at Cornell. In difficult cases, staff works directly with lawyers and U.S. Congressional staff on individual case management. To speak with a staff member directly, please call +1 (607) 255-5243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are a current student, scholar, or staff member traveling abroad and you are not permitted to return to the U.S. or have urgent immigration questions, please call the Cornell Police at +1 (607) 255-1111 anytime, day or night; they will immediately notify a staff member in Cornell’s Office of Global Learning/International Services who will assist.
- Clinical faculty at Cornell Law School will provide — without charge — advice and legal assistance to Cornell students who are denied visas under the U.S. executive orders. For assistance, please contact Beth Lyon, clinical professor of law, Cornell Law School: email@example.com, +1 (706)-254-4638, or lyonbeth (Skype).
- If you are a new or prospective student, scholar, or staff member planning your first visit or move to Ithaca, Cornell’s Office of Global Learning/International Services is happy to answer your questions, help with visa applications, provide advice for immigration interviews, and otherwise guide you through the visa process.
- Cornell provides faculty, staff, and students traveling on university business 100 miles or more away from their permanent residence or campus with access to travel planning information and the university's emergency travel assistance coverage while abroad. Cornellians can access this assistance with their NetID through Cornell's Travel Registry.
Support at Cornell
University Statements and News
- On October 16, 2019, Cornell University President Martha Pollack joins 57 presidents and chancellors of universities throughout New York State in a letter to the Members of the New York Congressional Delegation in support of the mobility of international students and scholars who are essential to U.S. universities. Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.
- On June 27, 2018, Cornell University President Martha Pollack issued a statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court travel ban ruling.
- On June 5, 2018, Wendy W. Wolford, vice provost for international affairs, issued a statement Emphasizing Our Support for Cornell's International Students and Scholars in the wake of U.S. Department of State plans to shorten the validity period of some visas issued to Chinese citizens engaged in selected STEM research:
- On November 17, 2017, Cornell and 30 other U.S. universities joined the International Refugee Assistance Project in an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Maryland. The brief supports the lawsuit against President Trump’s Presidential Proclamation No. 9645, the third in a series of presidential orders banning entry into the U.S. of nationals of Muslim-majority countries. The brief argues that the third travel ban both harms American higher education and offends important, defining principles of our country—and affirms the injunction against the ban’s enforcement:
- Cornell University President Martha Pollack reaffirms Cornell University's student privacy protections.
- Vice President Mary Opperman explains how Cornell University protects the privacy of students and employees: FAQ_CornellUniversityPrivacyProtocol.pdf FAQ_CornellUniversityPrivacyProtocol.pdf
- Cornell University and Ivy Plus institutions filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit arguing against the March 6 revised executive order restricting entry into the United States by people from six Muslim-majority nations: CollegesUnivs_CA9Hawaii_v_Trump.pdf
- Cornell University leadership statement in response to U.S. President Trump's March 6, 2017 Executive Order.
- In letters to Cornell's directors of graduate studies and undergraduate admissions, Barbara Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, reinforces that the university will continue to honor its “commitment to any person, any study … and students from any country”: ExecutiveOrder_GradAdmissionsLetter_021017.pdf and ExecutiveOrder_UndergradAdmissionsLetter_021017.pdf
Guidance and Counseling
- Cornell’s Office of Global Learning/International Services assists international students, academic staff, and their families by advising on U.S. federal immigration and other issues, and through web resources, information sessions, and events. They also provide counseling on personal, academic, and cultural matters. To speak with a staff member directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- International students and scholars can find more information about maintaining their immigration status from the Office of Global Learning/International Services. Those with questions may contact the office and ask to speak with an immigration advisor.
- Cornell's Office of Graduate Student Life serves the Cornell community in many capacities: discussing student concerns, providing available resources and services, and sharing options to handle difficult academic and personal situations. Contact Janna Lamey (email@example.com) to help identify appropriate resources.
- The staff in Cornell's Dean of Students office is available for support, advice, guidance, and consultation navigating various circumstances. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-607-255-1115 to be connected with a resource.
- Cornell's Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives offers general advising on personal and academic support, as well as planning for future academic and professional aims and referrals specifically for undocumented students as part of the trailblazers program.
- Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS (including the Let’s Talk Program), a part of Cornell Health, is a confidential place to talk with a trained health-care professional about any concern. This may include stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression, adjustment challenges, relationship difficulties, questions about identity, managing an existing mental health condition, or other issues. Please call CAPS at +1-607-255-5155 to speak with a staff member directly.
- Cornell's Faculty and Staff Assistance Program offers free and confidential guidance and support to benefits-eligible employees and their partners to address issues that may be affecting their personal lives and/or job satisfaction or performance. This confidential resource is part of Cornell's broad commitment to foster and support the mental health and well-being of the campus community.
- Clinical faculty at Cornell Law School will provide — without charge — legal assistance to Cornell students who are denied visas under the executive order. Specifically, Cornell Law School faculty will consult with those students about their legal options, represent them if they need to seek waivers from the order's restrictions, and make themselves available telephonically during student arrivals at U.S. ports of entry. For assistance, contact Beth Lyon, clinical professor of law, Cornell Law School: email email@example.com, call +1 (607) 254-4638, or Skype: lyonbeth.
- In addition, the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School is a not-for-profit group that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. They publish law online and create materials that help people understand the law.
Housing in Ithaca
- International students may be concerned that the uncertainty around federal immigration policy might impact their ability to travel abroad to return home during university breaks. For more information about on-campus housing options in these circumstances, please send an email in confidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cornell’s Office of Global Learning/International Services provides general information on its website.
Support from Off-Campus
- A blog for students and schools offers guidance about how to survive in the current immigration uncertainty; it is co-authored by Cornell Law Professor Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, who also practices immigration law at Miller Mayer LLP in Ithaca, New York, and Dan Berger, a partner at Curran & Berger, LLP in Northampton, Massachusetts.
- Penn State Law provides resources for immigrants and the broader community.
- Informed Immigrant offers important resources for immigrants and allies.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides updates on official government policies related to immigration into the United States.
- American Civil Liberties Union provides information and resources to help defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
- NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, provides resources that include a summary of current immigration executive actions and the Visa Interview Waiver program.
- Miller Mayer Attorneys at Law, Ithaca, provides updates on topics such as enforcement news, travel ban, fiscal year 2018 H-1B, detention remedy chart, and more.
- Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition is a network for immigrant community empowerment.
- Association of American Universities issued a statement in response to the March 6, 2017, executive order and travel ban.
- Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities issued a statement in response to the March 6, 2017, executive order and travel ban.
General Information about the Executive Actions
- On January 22, 2019, the Supreme Court took no action on the Trump administration's pending appeals to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, effectively leaving protections in place for at least the next several months for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and who are currently enrolled in the program. Through its inaction on the matter, the court let slip any likely chance that the case can be heard in the current term, which ends in June; that pushes oral arguments to October at the earliest and a decision into 2020 if the court agrees to hear the case at all.
- On August 9, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued revised guidance about how it is handling the implementation of the unlawful presence policy for international students and exchange visitors. The USCIS memorandum details the rules for counting unlawful presence for nonimmigrants holding F and M visas who have timely-filed or approved reinstatement applications, as well as for nonimmigrants with J visas who were reinstated by the U.S. Department of State. Under the new enforcement guidelines, failure to follow required reporting or other compliance steps can lead to an individual’s deportation and a lengthy bar on returning to the United States.
- On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump's ban on travel from several countries, based on the ban's rationale that these countries do not provide adequate security screening procedures for travelers. The ban applies to travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen (all listed in the legal battle), as well as travelers from North Korea and Venezuela. (Iraq and Chad had been removed from the original ban list.) For a summary of what the travel ban means for travelers from each of the identified countries, see the CNN chart published on June 27, 2018.
- A summary by Cornell Law Professor Stephen W. Yale-Loehr explains the December 4, 2017 Supreme Court action to allow the third version of President Trump's travel ban to take effect:
- On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban may go into effect while legal challenges against it continue. The court’s orders mean that the administration can fully enforce its new restrictions on travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim: for now, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea will be barred from entering the United States, along with some groups of people from Venezuela.
- U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland issued an October 17, 2017 preliminary injunction that blocks enforcement of all travel suspensions under President Trump's latest travel ban, except those pertaining to North Korea and Venezuela as well as those visa applicants with “no ties to the United States.”
- U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii issued an October 17, 2017 ruling that blocks the latest travel ban (Executive Order 3) from being implemented for travelers from 6 of the 8 specified countries; North Korea and Venezuela are not included in the block.
- On September 24, 2017, U.S. President Trump issued a proclamation that revises his original Executive Order travel ban; the new directive bans entry into the United States of people from the following countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen — and, separately, sets limited restrictions for people from Iraq (expanded security checks) and Somalia (no entry by immigrants). Case-by-case waivers are possible for some individual circumstances. Also, see the Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the White House Press Office.
- As part of the challenge to the Trump Executive Order(s) on immigration, on September 18, 2017, 30 higher education associations, representing numerous colleges and universities, filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court in support of international students, faculty, and scholars. Cornell University is among the parties to the brief.
- On July 24, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions, effective immediately.
- On July 13, 2017, U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, Judge Derrick Watson ruled that President Trump's travel ban must expand the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants from six countries can use to get into the United States. The judge ordered the United States not to enforce the travel ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.
- On June 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs posted an Alert with an Important Announcement on the Executive Order on Visas, including frequently asked questions.
- A summary by Cornell Law Professor Stephen W. Yale-Loehr explains the June 26, 2017, Supreme Court action to allow a limited version of President Trump's travel ban to take effect:
- On June 26, 2017, Supreme Court allows a limited version of President Trump's travel ban to take effect.
- A June 15, 2017 announcement by the Trump administration indicated the continuation of the Obama-era program intended to protect Dreamers from deportation and provide them work permits.
- On June 12, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii became the second court to rule against President Trump's revised travel ban that limited travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries, keeping in place the federal freeze on the travel ban implementation.
- On May 25, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s revamped March 6 executive order on immigration, including the travel moratorium on six predominately Muslim countries. Cornell University and Ivy Plus institutions had filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals arguing against the March 6 revised executive order. The court said the executive order discriminated on the basis of religion. The case is now likely to go to the Supreme Court.
- April 18, 2017, Executive Order (“Buy American and Hire American”), aimed at strengthening existing government policies to support domestic products and workers, calls on the departments of Commerce, Labor, Homeland Security and State to more strictly police the H-1B visa program. It also proposes changes, such as awarding H-1B visas to guest workers with the best skills and highest potential wages, rather than through a random lottery as is done now.
- Hawaii federal district court issues a March 29, 2017 order, changing its March 15 temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction, barring the enforcement across the nation of U.S. President Trump’s March 6, 2017 executive order banning travel into the United States by citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries.
- A summary by Cornell Law Professor Stephen W. Yale-Loehr explains the Hawaii court's March 15 restraining order on President Trump's March 6 executive order:
- Hawaii federal district court issues March 15 ruling to temporarily block President Trump's March 6 executive order.
- A summary by Cornell Law Professor Stephen W. Yale-Loehr explains Trump’s Revised Immigration Executive Order of March 6, 2017: Summary_ExecOrder030617_YaleLoehr.pdf
- March 6, 2017 Executive Order (revised travel ban, changing January 27, 2017 Executive Order) includes a Fact Sheet and Q&A: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the U.S.
- On February 20, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued two implementation memos, fact sheets, and questions and answers to the Department of Homeland Security workforce, providing further direction for implementing the recent executive orders calling for increased border security and tighter enforcement of interior immigration laws.
- Ongoing legal proceedings related to the executive order, U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit in State of Washington and State of Minnesota vs. Trump, include the February 9, 2017 Published Order Denying the Stay
- U.S. President Donald Trump issues a January 27, 2017 Executive Order 13769 Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.