A key part of the Ninth Circuit’s rejection of the White House’s poorly written, poorly targeted, and poorly justified immigration ban is the legal standing plaintiff states Washington and Minnesota have due to the negative impact of the travel restrictions on students and faculty at their public university campuses. How prominent are foreign students at South Dakota’s campuses?
According to the Board of Regents’ enrollment figures, 1,769 international students are enrolled at our six public campuses. That’s 4.8% of total SDBOR enrollment. For comparison, 3.0% of the entire state’s population is foreign-born. Shortly after the White House issued the illegal order, Regents VP Academic Paul Turman said the Regents had identified 74 students and four faculty affected by the ban.
53.4% of those international students are at South Dakota State University. According to university president Barry Dunn, SDSU’s 943 international students come from 89 countries. 30 of those students, as well as two faculty members, are from the seven Muslim countries targeted by the White House’s unconstitutional immigration ban. “They have enriched the Brookings community,” says President Dunn, “certainly enriched our campus.” Dunn adds that many of his foreign students are “concerned that the ban might be extended to them someday with…just the stroke of a pen.”
Northern State University has 197 international students, just one of whom comes from one of the White House’s blacklisted countries. However, as at SDSU, NSU students from other largely Muslim countries— Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia—are understandably wondering if Trump is coming for them next:
Northern State University junior Nikita Nesterov is a little worried about his home country being added to the list.
“I’m really worried about it because my country is a Muslim country and I’m really worried that it’s going to be affected by these changes in the immigration process,” Nesterov said. “If something happens and my country would be on the list I will not be able to finish my degree” [Katherine Grandstrand, “NSU Watching Immigration Order’s Effect on International Students,” Aberdeen American News, 2017.01.31].
The School of Mines and Technology has eight students and two faculty from the targeted Muslim countries.
International enrollments at other campuses are 289 at USD, 173 at Mines, 110 at DSU, and 64 at BHSU.
Seventeen states have submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in Washington & Minnesota vs. Trump et al. South Dakota is not yet among them. The immigration ban affects South Dakota campuses as surely as it affects campuses in Minnesota, Washington, and the seventeen states that are supporting their lawsuit. Our Attorney General, Marty Jackley should speak for our campuses and join the lawsuit over the Executive Branch’s unconstitutional overreach.