President Wintersteen statement on response to ICE ruling


Earlier this week we, along with other university presidents across the nation, shared our deep concerns about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) new guidance regarding the visa status of international students enrolled at U.S. institutions of higher education. Today we are gratified this guidance by ICE has been rescinded.

As the presidents of the state’s Regents institutions, we stand with the more than 6,000 international students across our campuses. These talented and dedicated students represent more than 120 nationalities and contribute to the richness and vitality of our campus communities. We will continue to advocate for our international students, who are valued members of our campuses and communities.


President Wendy Wintersteen portrait

President Wintersteen

Let me reiterate Iowa State’s support for our international students. The ruling by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is arbitrary and troubling, creating uncertainty for students during a global pandemic.

This week, Iowa State is joining other higher education institutions across the country urging Congress to immediately rescind the ICE ruling. I and the other Regent university presidents echoed that request in a letter sent to Iowa’s congressional delegation. We also expressed our concern for the impact on the more than 6,000 international students on our campuses, “We should be making it easier, not harder, for our international students to be welcomed and valued members of our campuses and society…This guidance creates uncertainty for our international students both in their ability to maintain their visa status, and when they would be allowed back into the U.S.”

Following the announcement of this ruling last week, I wrote to the campus community that we are doing everything possible to guarantee students have the maximum flexibility to continue their education at Iowa State.

On June 10, the university announced plans to offer classes for the fall semester with in-person, online and hybrid instruction formats. The plan offers flexibility so international students can make progress toward their academic degree while maintaining their visa status. University leaders are also considering additional options should Iowa State need to transition to virtual instruction during the semester.

Again, I want to let our international students, faculty and staff know that we value their contributions to our campus. Iowa State University will do all we can to support our international students to continue their academic progress this fall.