Our Blog

know what you need to know

International Students Fight to Stay

August 27, 2020

By: Sara Wu

In pursuit of the American dream and education, many international students aspire to attend a university in America. Their dreams help fund the university system in contributing expensive international fees on top of tuition and board. According to the Department of Commerce, they (~1,095,299 students) have contributed $44.7 billion dollars to the US in 2018. [1]

International students often go on to achieve great success in the STEM fields and to become the future leaders of tomorrow. It is significant to recognize that “not only are we educating public leaders for other countries, but each one of these foreign students is helping to educate Americans, their fellow students, about the rest of the world.” [2] The impact of International students affects foreign relations and perception of America among other countries.

The recent announcement on July 6th from the Student and Exchange Federal Program called for international students who are enrolled in online classes to leave the country or to transfer to an in-person school. Universities who have committed to being online in the fall, such as Harvard University and MIT, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to protect the risk that international students would face. [2] Due to the legal pressure, a week later the Trump administration reversed their decision. However, just a few days prior these students were facing a major life dilemma, forced to make a choice between two homes, and, under the stressful circumstances of COVID-19, risk losing their U.S. visa.

Anchita Dasgupta, a Brown University student from India, is under pressure to either choose to enroll in-person classes and potentially expose herself to the virus, or to stay in India and risk losing her visa [3] With the pressure of her career aspirations and family abroad, she is concerned with her choices .

Another student, Omer Tunc, a Georgetown University student from Turkey, would face the problems of unreliable Wi-Fi and time differences that prevent steady remote class discussions if he chooses to stay in Turkey. [3]

These students demonstrate a few of the problems caused by the U.S. original  decision. The policy disregarded the pain and stress induced onto the individual students. In addition to holding clear anti-immigrant sentiments, the decision was designed to pressure universities to reopen for the fall despite concerns about COVID-19. Thankfully the repealed decision allowed these students to stick with their original plan and avoid the distress.

If universities lose their international students, they may be forced to make deep budget costs to account for the lost revenue. As The Hill article explains,  “these losses fall harder on support staff- the janitors, cafeteria workers, and maintenance staff… rather than on professors with tenure”. [4] The now-reversed policy served as a reminder of the significant financial contributions from international students.

Despite the world being on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the message caused an uproar among students and faculty. Thankfully, this decision was reversed due to immense legal and public pressure. However, the fact that the U.S. attempted to implement such a xenophobic and anti-immigrant policy raises questions about whether this country should be such a coveted destination for international students. 



Bibliography
1. Sreeradha Basu and Prachi Verma, “Explained: Why US cannot say no to international students”, The Economic Times, last modified July 11 2020, https://economictimes.india times.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/trump-working-on-executive-order-to-establish-merit-based-immigration-system-white-house/articleshow/76908713.cms

2. Amy Mackinnon and Augusta Saraiva, “ICE Restrictions on International Students a ‘Self Inflicted Wound’”, Foreign Policy, last modified July 10 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020 /07/10/ice-restrictions-on-international-students-a-self-inflicted-wound/


3. Susan Svrluga and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, “After ICE cracks down on online learners, international students scramble for backup plans”, The Washington Post, last modified July 10 2020,https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/07/10/student-visas-ice-international-students/


4. Phyllis Jordan and Brooke Lepage, “Trump’s attempt to remove international students might hurt his bottom line”, The Hill, last modified July 11 2020, https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/506825-trumps-attempt-to-remove-international-students-might-hurt-his-bottom


Want to read more?

New Asylum Cooperative Agreements will affect Asylum Cases in the US
Read more
The Problem with the Crusade Against DACA
Read more
Spotlight on Immigrant Literature: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah
Read more
International Students Fight to Stay
Read more
Harvard and MIT’s Lawsuit
Read more
Surviving Sexual Violence at the Hands of CBP and ICE
Read more
2020 Census Apportionment Count
Read more
Joe Biden and Jo Jorgensen’s Stances on Immigration
Read more
Understanding Asylum in the US
Read more
The Arrest by Kyle MacKinnon
Read more
Immigration Topics Explored through Podcasts by Katie Snell
Read more
Guidelines for Individuals Seeking Refuge in the U.S. by John Tedesco
Read more
Healthcare Accessibility for Undocumented Immigrants by Anika Jagasia
Read more
Financial Resources for Undocumented Immigrants by John Tedesco
Read more
Navigating Primary and Secondary Education as an F-1 Visa Holder or Undocumented Immigrant by Kathryn Augustine
Read more
The Family Residential Centers are on Fire by Noah Pellettieri
Read more
What could immigration look like after the 2020 presidential election? by Kathryn Augustine
Read more
COVID-19 and Asian Identity: Ways to Advocate Against the Discrimination by Heather Law
Read more
Guide and Resources for International Adoption of Children Under the Age of 16 by John Tedesco
Read more
Resources for Immigrants Experiencing Domestic Violence by Carolyn Bruce
Read more
Resources for Undocumented Immigrants Applying to College by Sage Kashner
Read more
Immigrants as Foreign-Born Labor Participants by Anika Jagasia
Read more
The New Sanctuary Movement by Cecilia Cain
Read more
Steps to Getting a J Visa by John Tedesco
Read more
Snippets from Second Gen by Elena Koshkin
Read more
Connecting with Culture through Music and the Arts by Mallory Lindahl
Read more
A Beginner’s Guide to Anti-Racist Literature from within the United States by Dylan Lassiter
Read more
"We are humans, and we have the right to live" - the spread of coronavirus in immigrant detention centers by Noah Pellettieri
Read more
How to Recieve Financial Aid as an Undocumented Student by Cecilia Cain
Read more
Crash Course in ESL by Elaina Smith
Read more
Guide to Attaining a F or M Student Visa by John Tedesco
Read more
This American Dream by Izzy Sumardi
Read more
College Cultural Clubs & Organizations: Resources for First and Second-Gen Immigrants by Anika Jagasia
Read more
How to Identify and Report Notario Fraud by Kristin Silvestri
Read more
Arranging Independence: A True Immigration Story by Emma Pell
Read more
A Comprehensive Guide to the 2020 Census by Chelsea Brooks
Read more
Right and Access to Public Education Based on Immigration Status by Sage Kashner
Read more
Foreigner by Jasmine Huang
Read more
The Wild West by Izzy Sumardi
Read more
 A Call to Action: How to Help Immigrants During the Coronavirus by Jasmine Huang
Read more
Taking Action: COVID-19 and Asian Identity by Kyubin Kim
Read more
Resources for Immigrants During the Coronavirus by Jasmine Huang
Read more
The Namesake - The Sacrifices of an Immigrant by Jasmine Huang
Read more
New Country, New Life, New Therapist by Jasmine Huang
Read more
Tastes of Home - Making friends as an Immigrant by Kyubin Kim
Read more
Morning Stars for Breakfast by Jasmine Huang
Read more