Washington, September 24, 2020 - A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed rule to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow would eliminate the current “duration of status” (D/S) policy for international students (F status) and exchange visitors (J status). The following is a statement by Dr. Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
“This proposed rule is set to replace a proven, flexible policy that has served international students and exchange visitors for decades, with one that is both complicated and burdensome. In a system that is already extremely complex, this rule would undoubtedly create a high degree of uncertainty for international students and exchange visitors. If finalized, this rule would also make it more difficult for international students and scholars to maintain their legal status in the United States and make it far more difficult for international educators to administer. Sadly, this proposal sends another message to immigrants, and in particular international students and exchange visitors, that their exceptional talent, work ethic, diverse perspectives, and economic contributions are not welcome in the United States.
“To put it clearly, this is simply bad policy. This new rule would impact most international student and exchange visitors, higher education institutions that admit or sponsor them, and employers who benefits from international student graduates. Despite the increased stress and strain that it would put on all it affects, the policy would not make the United States any safer. International students and exchange visitors are already tracked by DHS and monitored by institutions of higher education and research organizations. At a time when America has already suffered three consecutive years of decline in new international student enrollment and an increasing global competition for talent, we must ensure our policies make sense and are welcoming. While the world is fighting a global pandemic, this is simply the worst time to add more restrictions on international students and exchange visitors.
“Our colleges and universities, the best in the world, are doing all they can to welcome international talent, but many in our federal government continue to fail them. We urge members of Congress to work with the administration to protect the current D/S policy for international students and exchange visitors so there is no question that international students, researchers and scholars are maintaining legal immigration status while contributing to our campuses and communities. We also urge our higher education partners and other interested parties to submit comments directly to DHS to prevent this rule from going into effect. We cannot afford to put up yet another barrier to talent and economic growth in the United States.”
About NAFSA: Serving more than 10,000 members and international educators worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. Visit us at www.nafsa.org/press. To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit www.nafsa.org/takeaction. Resources to guide our members on these issues can be found at www.nafsa.org/reginfo.