With civil war raging, Yemeni high school exchange students trapped by uncertainty

With a civil war raging in their home country that has already killed thousands of civilians, 31 Yemeni high school exchange students are “trapped by uncertainty” as their U.S. student visas are set to expire soon, the Washington Post reports. The students, who are participants in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, “can’t go home, and they can’t stay in the United States permanently because they are not citizens,” according to the Post.

The U.S. Department of State is “working on a longer-term solution to keep the students safe and cared for after August [when their visas expire], recognizing that Yemen is unlikely to be stable by then,” the Post writes. The article quotes Chris Miner, the Department of State’s Managing Director of Professional and Cultural Exchanges, who explained:

“The State Department is very concerned about the safety and security of all of our exchange programs, obviously including these very young people.”

The Post adds that “this is the first time the State Department has grappled with helping a group that is so large and so young.”

While some of the Yemeni exchange students were able to find friends or relatives in other countries to stay with, and others have applied for asylum in the U.S., most of the students currently remain in the care of the U.S. government and will spend the summer at a leadership institute in Virginia, according to the Post