Statement from President Steven Leath regarding executive order on immigration

Last Friday’s executive order suspending immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has raised concerns for many members of the Iowa State community. I understand these concerns, and I want to assure you we are coordinating with our international programs staff, immigration experts, legal counsel and peer universities to fully understand the implications of the new federal policies. We have also directly contacted our international students at Iowa State to offer guidance and resources.

Our primary focus at this time is the direct, adverse impact the order has had on three persons connected with Iowa State. We have been in touch with each of these individuals with the hope that they will be able to continue their work and studies with Iowa State in the near future. 

Iowa State University is proud to have enrolled a record 4,131 international students from 121 countries last fall (including 115 students from countries identified in the executive order). We welcome students and faculty from throughout the world who enrich the educational experience and enhance the research contribution of Iowa State. Our mission is to “create, share and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.”

Accordingly, the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) is committed to helping our international students and scholars and is providing them with up-to-date information directly, as well as posting it on their immigration updates page. In coordination with ISSO and university legal counsel, we are advising all nationals from the affected countries currently at Iowa State to consult immigration counsel and carefully evaluate these issues prior to traveling internationally at this time.

While we recognize the need for federal actions to protect our national security, we are concerned this executive order will unnecessarily interfere with members of our campus community. As a result, we will continue to work with leading national higher education organizations to advocate for immigration policies that protect national security, but also promote and safeguard the international relationships and people who are core to our success as an institution of higher education and as a nation.


Steven Leath
Iowa State University