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Senator Dianne Feinstein (Photo: Feinstein.senate.gov)

Feinstein and Others call on Trump to Remove Student Visa Guidance

International Students Could be Subject to Removal Based on Visa Violations

By Sean Brown, November 21, 2018 1:18 pm

In a public statement released by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and other high ranking Democratic Senators, the Trump Administration has been put under the spotlight as the group aims to rescind a rule that punishing international students for violating their school visas.

Urging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna to repeal a policy change that would unnecessarily punish international students who unintentionally violate the terms of their visas, the group says “the United States competes in a global economy—and this policy change is yet another choice made by the Trump Administration to make the United States less attractive to talented individuals from abroad,” the senators wrote. “This change will encourage students to look elsewhere to conduct groundbreaking research that helps fuel our economy.”

Referring to an August 9, USCIS issued guidance, international students studying within the United States would “begin accruing unlawful presence” if they are verified to have left their studies and begun working, even “if they were never notified of the violation by USCIS or an immigration judge.”

Furthermore, “under the new policy, international students will be subject to removal and barred from re-entry for up to 10 years before they even know that they have violated the terms of the terms of their visa.”

According to Feinstein “Allowing students from all over the world to study in the United States is one of the best ways to foster democracy. Deporting students for minor, technical errors only harm our schools, employers and economy.”

In the letter, the group argues that these students in this situation only enrich our higher education institutions and benefit our economy and communities. The letter also notes that “Aacording to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, more than one million international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $36.9 billion to our economy and supported more than 450,000 jobs in the United States during the 2016-2017 academic year.”

In addition to Senator Feinstein, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and several others signed the letter.

USCIS Services Director Francis Cissna nor President Trump have responded to the letter.

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