Accessibility links

Breaking News

Student Union

What If You Can't Get Home?

© David Holt/Flickr
© David Holt/Flickr
For most Iranian-Americans who are Millennial age, Farsi was their first language.

Their first friends were Iranian. Their parents were raised in Iran. And their names are typically Persian.

But this didn’t happen in Iran. It happened in the United States, the home they’ve known and loved their entire lives.

Pierre Omidyar, Iranian-American and eBay founder
Pierre Omidyar, Iranian-American and eBay founder


Like many immigrants -– as witnessed on St. Patrick’s Day or Columbus Day -- Iranians are proud of their roots. Food, language and culture meld from one generation to another, preserving the best of what they bring to the new country.

Instead of summers filled with Six Flags amusement park rides, road trips across different states, pool parties, or sleep away camp, many Iranian-Americans visit aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents in Iran during summer. Children soak in the flavors, aromas and sights of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Karaj.

While the secular Pahlavi Dynasty was overthrown Feb. 10, 1979, and replaced with the Islamic Republic of Iran, travel resumed between the two countries.



Given this, President Trump’s recent executive order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” has left Iranian-Americans confused and sad rather than excited about visiting family for Nowruz, Persian New Year, on March 21.

Iranian-Americans or Iranian legal residents are also worried that they might not be able to leave the U.S. to see family members in Iran, for fear of being prevented from returning.

Students, like Niki Mossafer Rahmati who studies engineering at MIT, couldn’t get back into the U.S. after her trip to Tehran over winter break. As Rahmati explained in her Facebook post, “about 30 other Iranians and I were stuck in Doha ... among them were old couples trying to go and see their children in the US, 2 old women trying to be with and help their pregnant daughters there for their third trimesters, students who had just gotten their visas and families who had sold their belongings back home so they could build a better life in the US. All these people had gotten visas legally and had gone through background checks.”

Even Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, whose film “The Salesman” has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards, may not be able to attend the Oscars ceremony because of the order.

The ban “restricts the intellectually hungry from pursuing premier educational opportunities,” said Nikki A, an Iranian-American Millennial, on Facebook. “A ban that splits up families. A ban that staggers the globalization of new ideas and interconnectedness. A ban that is 100% un-American.”

“This ban will do nothing to keep us safe and undermines our core American value,” wrote Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) on her Facebook.

President Obama, speaking out for the first time since President Trump’s election, said he “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

The safety of our country is a priority, but many, including myself, have never felt as unsafe and as unhappy living in the United States until now. Greg Myre from NPR wrote that the executive order “applies to these countries: Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan,” but “here are the countries of origin of radicalized Muslims who carried out deadly attacks in the U.S., beginning on Sept. 11, 2001: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan."

Is this about safety of our country or geo-politics and business?

Among the seven banned nations, “Iran sends the largest number of students to the U.S., 12,269 last academic year, and the 11th-most of any country in the world,” according to the Institute of International Education. With this executive order, thousands of students from all seven countries listed will be impacted.

This means thousands of students, who are typically the best and the brightest, will not be able to share their knowledge or their experience with the United States.



Do you have a comment about international students, Iran, Persians or the travel ban? Please leave a comment here, and post on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, thanks!

See all News Updates of the Day

Report: Number of college dropouts remains high

FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.
FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.

Enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is increasing, but the number of dropouts remains high, according to a report in the Chronicle of High Education.

Amanda Friedman writes that more former students are returning to school, but many want shorter-term programs, such as certificate programs. (June 2024)

Xi wants more exchanges between US, Chinese universities

FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.

Mutual understanding between China and the United States can be improved by having more university exchanges between the two countries.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinpin told Xinhua News Agency that exchanges could develop young ambassadors who understand both countries. (June 2024)

Students learn protests can affect job prospects

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.
FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.

Some students in the U.S. are learning their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war are having an impact on job prospects.

Financial Times reports that protest activities are turning up in background checks, and employers have revoked employment offers to students as a result. (June 2024)

UCLA names new chancellor as campus is still reeling from protests over Israel-Hamas war

Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.
Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.

The president of the University of Miami was chosen Wednesday to become the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, where the retiring incumbent leaves a campus roiled by protests over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Dr. Julio Frenk, a Mexico City-born global public health researcher, was selected by regents of the University of California system at a meeting on the UCLA campus, where there were a swarm of security officers.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been chancellor for 17 years and announced his planned retirement long before UCLA became a national flashpoint for U.S. campus protests. This spring, pro-Palestinian encampments were built and cleared by police with many arrests, and again this week, there were more arrests.

Frenk has led the 17,000-student University of Miami since 2015 and previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico's national health secretary, among other positions.

In a brief press conference, Frenk said he was approaching the appointment with excitement and humility.

"The first thing I plan to do is listen very carefully," Frenk said. "This is a complex organization. It is, as I mentioned, a really consequential moment in the history of higher education."

Frenk did not comment on specific protests at UCLA this spring or the current administration's response, which initially tolerated an encampment but ultimately used police to clear it and keep new camps from forming.

During public comment in the regents meeting, speakers criticized UC administrators, alleged police brutality, complained of a lack of transparency in UC endowments and called for divestment from companies with ties to Israel or in weapons manufacturing.

Speakers also talked about experiencing antisemitism on campus and called for an increased law enforcement response to protesters.

Later, about 200 people rallied, including members of an academic student workers union and the Faculty for Justice for Palestine group as well as students from other UC campuses. Participants held signs calling for charges to be dropped against protesters who have been arrested.

Block departs UCLA on July 31. Darnell Hunt, executive vice president and provost, will serve as interim chancellor until Frenk becomes UCLA's seventh chancellor on January 1, 2025.

In previous roles, Frenk was founding director of Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, held positions at the World Health Organization and the nonprofit Mexican Health Foundation, and was a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's global health program.

Frenk received his medical degree from the National University of Mexico in 1979. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he earned master's degrees in public health and sociology, and a joint doctorate in medical care organization and sociology.

Experts: US will have nearly 2 million international students by 2034

FILE - People line up outside McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.
FILE - People line up outside McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.

Experts predict the U.S. will enroll nearly 1.8 million international students by 2034, ICEF Monitor reports.

Most of the students will hail from India, along with China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Nepal, Brazil and Mexico, the analysis says.

Read the story here. (May 2024)

Load more

XS
SM
MD
LG