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.

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Zoheir Khademian and his wife (credit: CBS)

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.

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(credit: White House)

“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.

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Zoheir Khademian and his wife (credit: CBS)

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.

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Colorado School of Mines (credit: CBS)

“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.

  1. Sadly, Trump’s contentious issue is yet one more that makes being an international student difficult, on top of our already complex culture and language. Assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking on their life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.
    An award-winning worldwide book/ebook that reaches out to help anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” It is used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors. It also identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they’ve contributed to our society, including students.
    A chapter on education explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture, friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who have the loudest voice!

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