In response to major colleges and universities electing to hold mostly online classes, the Trump Administration proposed a policy that would have barred hundreds of thousands of international students from staying in the U.S. this fall term.
A slew of lawsuits from Harvard, MIT, the University of California and international student advocacy groups immediately flooded the courts, calling the policy cruel and reckless. Attorney generals from more than 20 states were also quick to join the cause, forcing the administration to retreat to its original policies regarding student visas.
Despite its eventual redaction, the student visa issue never should have been considered solely because of a student’s choice to take classes online. While the Trump administration attempted to justify the policy as a way of protecting American citizens from the virus, it failed to see—or deliberately ignored—the numerous repercussions it could have had.
The terminology “remote learning” may sound as though students can work from anywhere, but that’s not the case. Factors such as time zones and internet availability are only some of the potential problems that international students would have faced if the proposal had passed.
Not only would different time zones make it difficult for international students to attend classes, students residing in other countries would also receive lesson plans and information at a later time than their U.S. counterparts.
In terms of financial feasibility, this proposal would cause an already faltering economy to be hurt even further. College towns, local businesses and some major corporations depend on international students for stability and income.
Immediately after the administration announced the policy, dozens of tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, took to the internet to advocate for the dismissal of the policy, in part because it would limit their choice of graduates during recruitment.
The bigger problem, however, lies in the companies’ dependence on the different perspectives that international students bring. Stated during an interview with the Economic Times, these major corporations along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce discussed how the July directive would be sending graduates away to work with their global competitors, taking with them an American-based education.
On top of this, international students are also a major factor in the continuous creation of jobs in the American market. In the 2019-2020 school year alone, more than one million international students were registered in American colleges and universities, meaning that they created roughly half a million jobs. According to a study done by Moody’s Analytics under government mandate, three jobs are created for every seven international students.
Despite these numerous repercussions, this policy isn’t the first time the Trump administration has attempted to limit the number of foreigners in the United States.
From preventing approved individuals from getting work visas and green cards to ignoring thousands of asylum seekers, the Trump administration has long used underhanded tactics to write their misguided beliefs into law.
Above all, this topic, like many others, should not have become something that was determined in accordance to politics and international relations. Instead of having to worry about deportation and revocation of their visas, college students deserve to be able to focus on what’s truly important—receiving an education and the opportunities they deserve.