Yemeni students studying in Wash. face uncertain future
LYNNWOOD, Wash. - A dozen exchange students from Yemen are stuck in limbo in Lynnwood.
Their situation doesn't have anything to do with President Trump's immigration order or his travel ban on seven Muslim majority countries.
Their uncertain future in the U.S. has to do with a civil war in Yemen and their exchange student visas running out.
Mustafa Muthana, 19, and Wadhah AL-Fardi, 20, are both from Yemen.
They are part of a group of 24 students that came from the country as high school foreign exchange students three years ago.
Civil war broke out in the country at the end of their first year in the U.S.
“The war broke out and we couldn't go back home,” AL-Fardi said.
Now, a dozen of those students are at Edmonds Community College. Their support from the State Department runs out in June.
“What's going to happen to us after the scholarship ends is really scary. we're going to have to be by our own,” AL-Fardi said.
The current political climate isn't making them feel any better about their situation.
“We're just trying to maintain our legal status here. It's not safe for us to go back,” Muthana said.
Things are complicated for the students. They can’t drive, get a license, or work because of their student visa. The students plan on applying for temporary protective status.
“The Department of Homeland Security have decided that people from Yemen cannot be sent home because of the armed conflict there,” Kim Kraft, their former program adviser, said.
The students are also hoping to apply for asylum.
“We need lawyers for that. And we don't have enough money to get lawyers to help us through this,” Al-Fardi said.
Their former program adviser is trying to help by launching a GoFundMe page so the students could all have enough money for basic living costs.
“We want them to be here. We want them to be safe,” Kraft said. "They are so intelligent and so resilient. I believe with the right support they will be OK."
The Yemeni students, among their country's best and brightest, have big hopes.
“I’m thinking about psychology and law,” Muthani said.
The hope now is that they'll get the support they need to continue with their future in the U.S.