Wednesday, October 21, 2020: President Trump's Student Immigration Reform
On September 25th 2020, the Department of Homeland Security released a proposal to limit foreign student visas to two years. According to the proposal, after two years, the students will have to reapply for an extension to stay in the country and complete their education. The supposed purpose is to allow for increased accountability, identification of security threats, and oversight regarding the foreign students, such as discontinuing education for students who are “more likely to fail”. The proposal specifically targets students from 59 countries - those designated as “state sponsors of terrorism” and those with a high rate of visa overstays. The majority of these students are from African nations, China, India, Brazil, and Canada.
This proposal is not the first time Trump has attempted to decrease the number of foreign students and workers in the U.S.; in July of 2020, the administration attempted to remove all foreign students studying through online programs. This proposal may appear reasonable on its surface, but the vague criteria for discontinuation - such as “suspicion for potentially applying for additional immigration benefits” - allows too much room for for immigration officers to act on racism and xenophobia rather than national interest, and leaves international students to face the burden of uncertainty regarding their status and safety, as well as long and arduous re-application processes. Additionally, this proposal could deprive the country of high levels of revenue as well as future members of the skilled workforce, posing real consequences for the U.S. economy.
Finally, we are concerned that this proposal would disproportionately impact Asian American and Pacific Islander healthcare students. Nursing, physician, and scientist training programs all take longer than 2 years to complete, and our community makes up over 10% of the healthcare workforce. We stand opposed to this potential policy and to the treatment of our international students as threats, rather than assets, to our country.