University News

WIU: Declaration to Support International Students

July 15, 2020

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Update [7/15/20]: We are thrilled to announce that the federal government has rescinded the July 6 directive and guidelines. We obviously could not have asked for a better outcome. This is good news for our current and future international students and for our WIU community.


Posted July 14, 2020

Dear WIU Community,

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general in filing a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts to stop a new federal rule that threatens to bar hundreds of thousands of international students from studying in the U.S. The lawsuit, filed against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeks an injunction to stop the entire rule from going into effect.

Western Illinois University, along with 39 state public and private higher education institutions, has filed declarations in support of the lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Raoul and 17 attorneys generals from across the U.S.

We currently have approximately 175 enrolled students with F-1 visas, and of those, nearly 150 are in the U.S. Over 500 new international students were admitted to WIU for Fall 2020. The temporary restraining order would prevent changes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), allowing our international students to remain in the country even if they were enrolled in a fully online program. We are deeply concerned that if forced to leave the country, international students may not be able to safely relocate to their home country to study remotely, and might not even be able to return home due to existing travel restrictions. We further recognize that many of our international graduate students support the teaching mission of the University, either through direct instruction or in support of regular faculty, particularly in our STEM curriculum.

WIU is a community that understands itself through a global perspective and students from all backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities are welcome here. International students enrich and enlighten our universities and our communities with their diverse perspectives and unique talents. Western Illinois University supports the pursuit of higher education, and we stand with our international students, faculty, and academic partners.


Martin Abraham
Interim President

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations