Why It’s Important to Raise Our Voices, Again and Again

July 07, 2011 | Topics: Advocacy and Public Policy

By Victor C. Johnson

Contrary to the impression I’m about to give you, this post isn’t about immigration. Many of us who believe that immigrants make our country stronger and who are committed to working for comprehensive immigration reform are struggling with two seeming realities of these difficult times: first, the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, due in part to the economic downturn; and second, the collapse of public support for immigration reform. We get discouraged. We feel like we should just give up. This is true not just for many of us as individuals, but also for some of the principal immigration groups that we rely on for leadership, but which seem to have fallen silent. We think: What’s the point? We can’t win. Public opinion is going in the other direction... See More

“We aren’t always who you think we are” – Thoughts on Jose Antonio Vargas and the Immigration Debate

By Ursula Oaks

When I first heard about Jose Antonio Vargas’ campaign, Define American, the phrase was like a punch in the gut. Unlike Vargas, I’m not an illegal immigrant, and nothing about my appearance makes people wonder where I came from. But I am an immigrant, and like him and countless others, I have spent my life striving to live the definition of “being an American” that he articulates: hard work, a sense of deep pride in being here, and a desire to contribute.... See More

Michigan’s Friendliness to Immigration Seen as Key to Economic Development

By Peter Briggs

A need for economic transformation in Michigan has lead to some creative thinking and a new initiative from Republican Governor Rick Snyder that international educators should applaud. The Global Michigan Initiative aims to promote Michigan's economic prosperity by welcoming the best and the brightest from around the world and to include everyone in reinventing Michigan.

It starts with the premise that Michigan’s long tradition of reliance on a manufacturing economy will not return and that talent from abroad is key to fostering the innovation and entrepreneurship that will be the state’s way forward to economic revitalization. Snyder, a former business executive who is new to elective politics, has frequently voiced the opinion that it is in our state’s best interest to create an environment that is welcoming to immigration, and that includes international students and scholars. This does, of course, stand in stark contrast to so much of the anti-immigration policies that are sprouting up around the country.

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Inside the Numbers: How Foreign Students Contribute $18.8 Billion to U.S. Economy

December 21, 2010 | Topics: Advocacy and Public Policy

By Jason Baumgartner

NAFSA’s latest annual economic impact statements estimate that international students at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $18.8 billion to this country’s economy during the 2009 -2010 academic year. As sometimes happens, the NAFSA report has raised a few questions about how the numbers are derived. Interestingly, two articles appeared in the same week recently, one suggesting that the NAFSA estimate is too low, and another suggesting that it overstates the contribution foreign students make. These two contradictory analyses offer an occasion to provide some additional information and context for how the NAFSA economic impact statements are calculated... See More

Face to Face with Policy Makers: How NAFSA’s Advocacy Day Makes a Difference

December 13, 2010 | Topics: Advocacy and Public Policy

By Loveness Schafer

I was excited when NAFSA Region III offered me a scholarship to attend the 2010 NAFSA Advocacy Day event in Washington, DC. I wanted NAFSA to know that I will put the money to good use. But what use?

I never thought of myself as a lobbyist or an advocate for anything international. I had never attended Advocacy Day before, never been to Capitol Hill, and the thought of going to Washington to advocate for international education made me nervous.

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More Work to be Done on the DREAM Act

December 07, 2010 | Topics: Immigration Policy

By Katie O'Connell

This may be the last chance for the DREAM Act to pass this year as the intense debate continues in Congress this week. Many of you have helped a lot along the way, and we need you again now to help dispel myths about the DREAM Act, and to keep up the pressure on Congress to do the right thing for undocumented students and for our country.

Yesterday the daily congressional newspaper The Hill published a letter by NAFSA’s CEO and Executive Director Marlene M. Johnson titled, DREAM Act is humane, good for the US economy. This letter reiterates several important facts about the DREAM Act which have been misrepresented in the current debate.

There are 3 simple things you can do to help, too:

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The DREAM Act Needs Our Voices Today

December 01, 2010 | Topics: Immigration Policy

By Katie O'Connell

The DREAM Act has galvanized both supporters and opponents, and today the momentum – and the noise – is deafening. That’s because of anticipation that the Senate may move as early as this week to vote on the bill.

While the DREAM Act has enjoyed widespread bipartisan support over the years, you’ve probably heard the bill’s chances today aren’t great. However, the reality is that the opposition isn’t assuming victory – they’re flooding the Hill with faxes and calls. We need to be sure that we’re getting pro-DREAM Act letters to those offices too – to show support and to dispel myths about the legislation.

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Foreign Students Bring $18.8 Billion to U.S. Communities – and Much More

By Katie O'Connell

In these tough economic times, foreign students and their dependents continue to make an important economic contribution to communities and campuses across the United States. NAFSA’s new report of economic impact shows that college students from other countries contributed $18.8 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2009-2010 academic year through tuition, fees, and living expenses for themselves and their families. This is a $1 billion increase from the previous academic year.... See More

A Night with Greg Mortenson: How U.S. Higher Education Can Help Women in Afghanistan and Pakistan

November 09, 2010 | Topics: Foreign Policy, Education Abroad

By Katie O'Connell

Last night at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, DC, I had the privilege of listening to Greg Mortenson speak passionately about his life’s work of building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. You may know him as the author of the bestsellers Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at A Time and Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is also co-founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of Pennies for Peace.... See More

From the Back of an Envelope: How NSEP Was Born

October 13, 2010 | Topics: Advocacy and Public Policy, Education Abroad

By Janice Mulholland

Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to hear former Senator David L. Boren (D-Okla.), now president of the University of Oklahoma, recount the creation of the National Security Education Program. I found the story to be so interesting and refreshing considering today’s difficult and tenuous political environment that I wanted to share it with you.

It was 1991, and Senator Boren had just come out of a meeting about the need for national mineral reserves and was headed to the Senate floor for a vote on the Intelligence Authorization Act. The meeting about creating mineral reserves prompted him to start thinking about which other reserves the country could benefit from having. What he realized on his way to the Senate floor was that the country desperately needed a talent reserve – a reserve of graduates who could speak other languages, understand other cultures, and help provide the nation with a level of security it couldn’t have absent those skills. He said he got to the floor, discussed his idea with Senator Cohen (R-Maine), and then scribbled an amendment on the back of a torn brown paper envelope to establish a program that would begin to create this talent reserve. He then sent the envelope up to the parliamentarian as an amendment to the intelligence act.

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