The update we received from our International Students Office:
International students should not travel outside of the U.S. at this time because of the quickly changing outcomes of these legal challenges, as well as the uncertainty of obtaining or renewing visas to enter the U.S.
Of course, many international students – especially the ones with passports from unprestigious places – never left the US throughout their course of study even before this. N was too terrified to go even just to Canada during his PhD. Who knows what whim will overcome the customs officer at the border.
I traveled freely with my Canadian passport, yet the customs officers were often unpleasant and sometimes downright aggressive. One, for instance, tore my student visa into shreds and threw it in the garbage. Just because.
A smart international student who does mind not being able to come back does stay put. People keep acting surprised that customs officers are mistreating travelers. This is only surprising for those who haven’t crossed the border with a non-US passport dozens of times like I did. The shit I’ve seen, you don’t want to know. And I’m white, female and pretty. People who don’t look like me have it much worse.