DELAWARE, OH (WCMH) — International students at Ohio Wesleyan University say they’re scared about their future.
University President Rock Jones said the school is getting ready to do everything it can within the law to protect students who could be blocked from studying in the United States by President-elect Donald Trump.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program allows some undocumented youth already here to stay in the US, providing temporary protection to work, live and go to school.
“I think DACA is very important and beneficial,” said President Jones.
But President-Elect Trump has said he will eliminate the program.
International students with visas aren’t affected by DACA. But, international students we spoke with said the potential elimination of the program has left them fearful about what other restrictions President-Elect Trump could put on them and other non-citizens.
OWU has now joined more than 500 other college and university presidents in signing the petition titled “Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students.” At least 11 Ohio colleges and universities have signed the petition, including The Ohio State University and Ohio University.
We spoke with several OWU international students who said since the election, they’ve all been worried. Kyi Linn Htoo and Mallika Baudh are just two of them.
“It’s a really big deal for me. I always had a dream of studying here since I was little,” said Kyi Linn Htoo, who is from Burma.
Now, they and the rest of the international community fear America might not let them in, or stay, to get their degrees. Kyi Linn Htoo’s sister, who is starting her studies here in the US next month, is one of them.
“She’s been asking me a lot of questions like is America still an ideal place for international students to go study?” he said.
“I’m sure the kids who are like thinking about coming to the US are having second thoughts about it now,” said Baudh, who is from India. “I feel so fortunate that I’m here.”
Both students are here on Visas, but some students aren’t here legally. President Jones said the University doesn’t ask that question.
“We are not aware if we have undocumented students or not. I assume that we probably do,” Jones said.
Jones says it’s in the country’s best interest to welcome students from across the world.
“We spread democracy by giving students from other parts of the world the opportunity to experience American democracy as college students.”