Dear Commons Community,
In a policy memorandum, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on May 10th that it plans to change how it calculates “unlawful presence” for foreigners in the student visa and exchange program. It will also impose harsher punishments — up to a 10-year ban from the country — for graduates who overstay their visas.
The policy, due to take effect in August, has been criticized by higher education institutions and student advocates who say the change shows the indiscriminate nature of the Trump administration’s “America First” policies. They say Mr. Trump’s aggressive immigration efforts are shutting out the nation’s leading scholars, who contribute billions of dollars to the economy in the United States, staff its leading research institutions, support its most high-skilled jobs, and contribute to the president’s own goal of strengthening the pipeline to science, technology, mathematics and engineering jobs.
“It is clear that in an attempt to ‘enhance public safety,’ the administration seeks to further close the door on academic talent,” said Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at Nafsa, the Association of International Educators. “This is yet another policy which makes the United States less attractive to talented international students and scholars.”
This policy is a blow to the STEM disciplines especially doctoral progams that rely on talented foreign-born students.