Columbia presses on with scholarship program for displaced Syrians despite Trump travel ban
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Columbia University says it will move forward with accepting applicants for its scholarship program for Syrian refugees despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE’s travel ban.

In the program’s first year in 2016, the university gave scholarships to four Syrian students who had been displaced from their home country due to the civil war, and hopes to repeat that in this second round of applications, according to reports.

Trump’s travel restrictions were not in place during the first round of the scholarships, but since then the administration has placed restrictions on visitors from Syria and six other countries.


At least two federal appeals courts have ruled that the latest iteration of Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional and unlawfully discriminates against Muslims.

The Supreme Court agreed to review the legality of the ban, and is expected to issue a decision later this month.

The restrictions block Syrian nationals from obtaining student visas, with very limited exceptions. Columbia officials told the The Associated Press that they are hopeful the Supreme Court will strike down the travel restrictions, allowing the scholarship recipients to get visas.

Bruce Usher, a Columbia Business School professor who helped create the program, told the AP that they decided to move forward with the program despite the new obstacles.

“What we concluded was, we go forward," Usher said. "What we do is educate people. If we find that certain applicants are unable to attend ... hopefully they'll eventually be able to get a visa."