CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - While waiting for the courts to come to a decision on the legality of President Donald Trump's executive action on immigration policies, a Master's student at SIU is finishing up her senior thesis, and planning to start her professional career in Illinois.
However, as an Iranian native, the courts' ultimate decision could put that job offer at risk.
For an average of eleven hours a day on most days out of the week recently, you'll find this particular Masters' student in Southern Illinois University's Student Center putting the finishing touches on a Master's thesis that she said will soon be a published product of SIU.
"Here is the land of opportunity… here is the land of freedom," International student Elnaz, who wished to keep her full name anonymous, said.
If asked, she would tell you the long hours were needed as she pursued "The American Dream."
"The idea I had about this country before is just that," Elnaz said. "You have here; freedom. If you are a hard worker, and you really work hard, you can gain your goals."
"It's the land of opportunity."
After spending literally years applying for visas and clearing background checks, she ultimately ended up researching at and for SIU.
Weeks ago, was offered a time sensitive job offer in Illinois
"They called me and said you are our best candidate for this position… so they would like to give me the offer."
Ecstatic, Elnaz accepted. But days after signing an agreement and applying for a work visa, processing on that visa was put on hold by President Trump's recent executive order.
When asked how she would define herself, Elnaz didn't mention her religion, or country of origin, but said she wished to be seen as a Master's student, with a degree in computer science.
"I was just following the rules," Elnaz said. "Following my goals, but suddenly things have changed."
While the courts figure out whether or not President Trump's executive action is legal, processing on Elnaz's work visa has resumed.
However, if the travel ban is reinstated, processing may again stop and her job offer may expire.