Statement of NAFSA CEO Marlene Johnson Opposing H.R. 5203


The Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016


Rebecca Morgan, 202.495.2553,
Alan Fleming, 202.495.2528,

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2016 – Marlene M. Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to international education and exchange, issues the following statement on House Judiciary Committee H.R. 5203, the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016:

“NAFSA is unwavering in our support for national security and, therefore, agrees with the goals of improving security and enhancing visa integrity. Our nation’s history shows that welcoming immigrants makes us more secure. Given that available resources are not unlimited, allocation must be prioritized based on threat assessments. As you know, not all visitors to the United States present the same threat. We harm our nation with policies that adopt a zero-sum approach, and exclude those who seek to come to the United States because of our values, to learn at our higher education institutions, and who make our country greater.

“Of specific concern is how a new ‘clear and convincing evidence’ standard to prove eligibility for a visa to travel to the United States will be applied with regard to foreign students. Current law requires foreign students prove they have no intent to immigrate to the United States. If this bill becomes law, foreign students will be required to produce evidence that will create for a consular officer a firm belief or conviction that the student has no intention to immigrate to the United States. This will be increasingly difficult as it is now clear that the United States is reliant on hiring foreign graduates of U.S. higher education institutions to support advances in science, technology, and other innovations.

“The United States has been successful at attracting and integrating immigrants who have added tremendous value to our country and economy. NAFSA supports the goal of improving security and visa integrity through welcoming immigrants and creating an immigration system that reflects our values as a nation. H.R. 5203 will not achieve this.”


About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter.