Days after a controversial US travel ban against citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations, indications are appearing in the media that one population is specifically bearing the brunt of Donald Trump’s move: thousands of Iranian academics and students.
The Chronicle of Higher Education – a news platform for US academics – wrote in an article that above 12,000 Iranian students – most of them in graduate programs of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects) – studied in the country’s colleges in 2015-16. The figure, it said, was the highest among the countries that have been hit by Trump’s travel ban.
Iraq sent the next-largest number of students to the US at 1,901, the Chronicle quoted figures released by the Institute of International Education.
Overall, Iran stands at the 11th place with regards to the number of students in the US. The top 10 countries with the highest number of students in the US are China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.
Reports emerged in the media over the past week about many Iranian students who had mostly traveled home for winter break but had been unable to return to the US as a result of Trump’s travel ban.
There have been even reports of arrests of Iranian students as well as parents of students who had come to visit their children upon arrival in the US.
Another group affected the hardest as a result of Trump’s travel ban was the employees of American technology firms – against most of them Iranians.
This, as VentureBeat.com wrote in an article, had already significantly disrupted one of the fastest-growing and most prosperous industry sectors in America.
The article further emphasized that that US tech is benefiting significantly more from people trained in Iran than from those trained in the other six countries in the travel ban list. It said there were 924 graduates of Iranian universities currently employed by 12 of the largest US technology companies by market capitalization.
“If there has been a silver lining to this whole situation, it is the constant reminder from the stories of those denied entry and those threatened that immigrants make America great,” wrote VentureBeat.com in its article.