June 11, 2020

Feinstein Calls for Clear Guidelines on International Student Visas Amid Pandemic

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf urging them to issue clear guidelines on international student visas to universities and colleges.

            “Many of the best and brightest come to the United States, to teach and train the best of the next generation, and to conduct innovative research to further the economic strength of our country,” wrote Feinstein.

            “Issuing guidance related to remote learning and the prioritization of medical residents and fellows would be particularly helpful to both institutions and their students, residents, and fellows. Additionally, healthcare-related optional practical training (OPT) programs are vital to our country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and these employment authorization applications should be a high priority. Non-immigrant visas relating to study or research at an institution of higher education should be exempted from future executive action.”

            Full text of the letter is available here and below.

June 11, 2020
The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

The Honorable Chad F. Wolf
Acting Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Pompeo and Acting Secretary Wolf,

            I write to request that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS) issue clear guidance to our nation’s universities and colleges as they face unprecedented uncertainty for their international students, scholars and researchers. 

            Over one million international students and their families contributed approximately $45 billion to our national economy in the 2018-2019 academic year.  Over the 2018-2019 academic year, international students created or supported more than 458,000 jobs – creating three jobs for every seven international students. 

            Many of the best and brightest come to the United States, to teach and train the best of the next generation, and to conduct innovative research to further the economic strength of our country. 

            Issuing guidance related to remote learning and the prioritization of medical residents and fellows would be particularly helpful to both institutions and their students, residents, and fellows.  Additionally, healthcare-related optional practical training (OPT) programs are vital to our country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and these employment authorization applications should be a high priority.  Non-immigrant visas relating to study or research at an institution of higher education should be exempted from future executive action. 

            Providing this guidance will help ensure that our institutions of higher education remain strong both during and after this pandemic.  They provide much needed economic support to many communities. 

            Thank you for your attention to these important matters.     

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

 

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