Protect International Students
I implore you to take a strong stance against Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) recent Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) policy change, which will prevent students with nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 student visas from maintaining their legal residency in the United States if their colleges change to online instruction only. This new policy would force many international students to either transfer to another institution for in-person coursework or to leave the United States entirely. Forcing international students to transfer or leave is unrealistic and financially untenable for many, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, many international students will face unsafe and/or unsuitable learning conditions in their home countries; some students will be without access to the internet, electricity, or other services that would allow individuals to participate in online learning. Traveling also presents a high risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19. International students are a vital part of our universities and economy. The number of international students choosing to come to the U.S. is already declining, and this new policy would further reduce those numbers. Colleges and universities faced with declining government funding require international students’ tuition to stay afloat, and the U.S. economy at large relies heavily on foreign workers’ expertise and contributions. This pressure to retain international students is forcing colleges and universities to offer in-person instruction, counter to public health recommendations. Thus, allowing international students to remain in the United States, regardless of the mode of instruction is vital to ensuring that international students at American colleges and universities are able to stay safe, financially secure, and healthy during these challenging times. I strongly urge you and your colleagues in the Senate to stand against ICE’s newest attack on immigrants, and to strongly support the repeal of these new SEVP policy changes. Thank you.
First sent on July 7, 2020 by PhiYen
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