By Jeff Todd
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– After President Donald Trump signed a new Executive Order, international students say there’s still uncertainly around their education and life off campus.
“The school is really supportive actually. They try to talk to us, which is important which is what we need,” said Zoheir Khademian who is trying to get his PhD at Colorado School of Mines.
Khademian’s wife came to the U.S. with him from Iran two years ago. She went back home to help successfully treat her father’s cancer.
“We needed to renew her F-2 visa in order to get her back. We did that at the embassy in Armenia,” Khademian said.
But now officials have slowed approving Visas and the new Executive Order all but blocks any chance for Zoheir to get his wife back into Colorado. He still has two years left of studying injection related earthquakes.
“It’s been eight months, I couldn’t focus on what I’m doing. And I’ve done my best to do what I’m supposed to do but it’s not easy to focus at this point. I asked her to come here so we can build our lives in a better environment in terms of academia, in terms of scientific environment. I owe her. It’s not fair to leave her alone over there and I’m here,” Khademian said. “Is it fair to stay here? Should I leave and go back home. How much is it worth staying here?
The executive orders from Pres. Trump have left other students at mines in precarious positions. Zoheir is hoping the new order’s clause for “hardship relief” could be a way to get his wife back to Colorado.
“We are here to make a contribution, an everlasting contribution and you will see that. We are not dangerous. We are assets. Concentrating on research is not easy when you have such a thing in your mind. Is there any logical way to show this is hardship? it’s not clear what hardship means,” he said.
While the school has been supportive of international students the Trump Administrations stance has already been felt on campus. Zoheir said he’s heard of two Iranian students who had their visa’s denied.
And with the potential for the most recent Executive Order to also be challenged in court, students remain in an uncertain area.
“I don’t want to live in an unknown situation. Just tell me she’s going to come in four months, in eight months, nine months, give me a number,” he said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.