Correction appended.

After last Tuesday’s Ohio University Graduate Student Senate meeting, when members addressed the idea of hiring a legal consultant to visit campus to advise international, immigrant and undocumented students, an immigration lawyer visited campus to talk with concerned students about the changes in immigration regulations.

Ken Robinson, an immigration attorney for Slowik & Robinson, LLC, discussed changes to immigration policies that have happened since President Donald Trump was elected to office. He also discussed rights for unauthorized residents or DACA students who are unable to renew their applications after Oct. 5. 

“President Obama was directed by regulation to hire a certain number of U.S. (Customs and Border Protection agents)," Robinson said. 

The Trump administration has looked to hire more Customs and Border Protections agents than the Obama administration. The agents still must meet certain requirements to be hired. Customs and Border Protections requires a polygraph during background checks. 

Under the Trump administration, Robinson warned students about changes that international students should expect, including attacks on the H1B visa program, or the “work force” of immigration, as well as attempts to create a quantitative immigration system. That system could “cap immigration on historic levels,” according to Robinson.

When asked if Robinson would be willing to be hired as the legal consultant for OU students, he said "maybe" and described his work with peer universities. 

“I do that kind of work — that outreach for other universities,” Robinson said. "I work with the University of Toledo and the (Ohio State University) as clients of the state, like a special counsel to them, as well as some not-for-profits.”

Peer universities such as Colorado State University have also had that service for international students with concerns about their legal status as well as visa situations. 

At the GSS meeting, GSS President Maria Modayil outlined in the agenda that “international students can currently pay into Student Legal Services, but it currently cannot provide any legal advice for them.” 

Modayil also issued a resolution that would “provide legal advice on immigration and visa situations for its students through either International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) or through Student Legal Services.”

“International students naturally face different kinds of challenges when they go to universities, from the national visas to having working limits, but this one is different,”  Bahman Shahri said in a previous Post report. “There’s this anxiety amongst them. Not just members coming from these eight countries, but other international students that I’m sure the same things are going to happen.”


Correction: A previous version of this report included incorrect information about Customs and Border Protections agents and their requirements. Some quotes from Ken Robinson have been removed from the report as a result. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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