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Friday, December 8, 2023

Guest Commentary

Guest Column: Immigration suspension creates ‘agonizing stories’

Many UH students are being affected by the new executive order. | Courtesy of Saeid Amiri

Due to the recent executive orders signed by President Trump, students from seven Muslim countries have been banned from entry to the United States.

As a University of Houston alumnus, I am being discriminated against because of the blanket ban, and I believe that the chances for permanent extension of this temporary ban are high.

It’s clear to most UH faculty members that students from these countries have contributed greatly to the University through their dedication and research. This uncertain, volatile situation is affecting the daily life of current students from these countries in terms of loss of concentration in our academic role, and has created agonizing stories for my peers and myself.

A friend of mine was about to welcome her parents, whose visas had already been issued, to the U.S., but now, their reunion has been suspended indefinitely. The spouse of a recently married student is outside the country at the moment, and there is no indication about when the couple might see each other again.

At UH, especially in the engineering and science colleges, a significant percentage of Ph.D. students are from the banned countries. Our academic contributions demonstrate how dedicated we are and show what a contribution we have been to the University and to our fields of study.

This ban also has a detrimental effect on the graduate programs in these various departments. A lack of doctoral students, and the subsequent research and publications from those students, will result in a loss in prestige for these academic departments nationally and globally.

I genuinely request the support of UH students, faculty and staff. On Monday, we received Chancellor Khator’s reassuring message. Although it is great to have the support of different offices and centers on campus, no effective change will happen if UH administration does not relay our concerns to the top decision makers.   

Saeid Amiri is a mechanical engineering graduate, class of 2015, and can be reached at [email protected].

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