Legal Updates for Students and Scholars

Information and resources regarding executive orders on immigration

Northeastern is a global university comprised of diverse identities, backgrounds, and beliefs. We embrace all members of our community, regardless of their national origin or religious affiliation. All members of our community who have immigration concerns should rest assured that Northeastern will continue to stand with you. Northeastern is committed to providing support and has charged an interdisciplinary cross-functional Immigration Executive Order team led by Madeleine Estabrook, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Jigisha Patel, Assistant General Counsel.

The information gathered here is intended to provide guidance and resources to all members of our community regarding immigration policies, executive orders on immigration, and the rescission of DACA. As Northeastern learns more information, we will continue to update this page.

Travel Ban Update
On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the third travel ban. This ruling arrives after a 17-month legal challenge beginning with the implementation of the first travel ban in January 2017. Today, the Court held that President Trump acted within his authority in indefinitely restricting entry to the U.S. for certain nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The majority found that the travel restrictions are rationally related to U.S. national security objectives and thus the plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed in their claim that the presidential proclamation violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another. The Court also held that laws prohibiting nationality-based discrimination do not limit the President’s power to determine who may enter the United States.

Northeastern University and its leaders remain opposed to the travel ban and reaffirm our commitment to President Aoun’s February 2017 message to the Northeastern community.

Under the new Supreme Court ruling, nationals of the restricted countries will remain subject to the following U.S. travel limitations that have been in effect since December 2017, unless otherwise exempt or granted a waiver:

  • Iran: No nonimmigrant visas except F/M student visas and J exchange visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Libya: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • North Korea: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Somalia: Nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny; no immigrant or diversity visas.
  • Syria: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Venezuela:No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies. Other visa holders are subject to verification of traveler information. No restrictions on immigrant or diversity lottery visas.
  • Yemen: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

The Department of Homeland Security previously lifted the proclamation's restrictions on nationals of Chad.

Several classes of foreign nationals are exempt from the restrictions, including U.S. lawful permanent residents, dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country, foreign nationals who hold a valid U.S. visa or advance parole and those who were physically in the U.S. on the applicable original effective date of the travel restrictions.

Those who are not exempt may request a waiver when applying for a visa. To be eligible for a waiver, a foreign national must demonstrate that he or she would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that his or her entry would not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety and would be in the U.S. national interest. Waivers are highly discretionary and are often difficult to obtain.

The current travel restrictions will remain in place until the Administration lifts them or removes particular countries from the list. The Administration could add new countries and broaden restrictions on foreign nationals already subject to the proclamation.

The State of Hawaii’s challenge to the presidential proclamation will now return to federal district court for further proceedings, consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In March and April, Northeastern, along with several other institutions of higher education, filed amicus briefs challenging the recission of the DACA program and the third travel ban. Northeastern filed these amicus briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Ninth Circuit, as well as in the U.S. Supreme Court.

DACA Update
On April 25, a third injunction against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo rescinding the DACA program was issued by a D.C. federal judge. Previous injunctions granted in New York and California had required DHS to continue accepting renewal applications from DACA recipients. This injunction, however, in addition to requiring DHS to accept renewal applications, also requires DHS to begin accepting new applications from individuals who have not previously applied to the program. This decision, however, does not go into effect for 90 days. During this period of time, DHS has the opportunity to better explain why it ended the program. Northeastern, along with several other institutions of higher education, had filed an amicus brief in support of the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Preliminary Injunction.

On May 1, Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the creation of the DACA program. The following day, the seven states filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to prevent the DACA program from continuing while the lawsuit proceeds.

Immigration Policy Update
The Trump Administration announced plans to shorten the length of validity for some entry visas issued to Chinese citizens. On May 29, the Associated Press reported that the State Department sent instructions to U.S. embassies and consulates that Chinese graduate students will be limited to one-year entry visas if they are studying in certain fields, such as robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing. The changes were scheduled to begin on June 11 and will impact students seeking entry or reentry to the U.S. This policy change does not ultimately impact the length of study and stay in the U.S. as the students’ I-20 expiration date, which is determined by the length of the study program, is the controlling immigration status document after entry to the U.S.

Upon learning of this change in policy, Northeastern immediately reached out to the American Council on Education (ACE) to ask the Trump Administration to consider a more balanced and fair approach. ACE released a strong statement that asked the Trump Administration to ensure America’s national and economic security is protected while at the same time preserving the U.S. as a destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest students and scholars.

Northeastern will continue to monitor these situations closely and update this page as more information becomes available. Northeastern urges members of our community to reach out to any of the offices listed below in the “Resources” section for assistance.