(Washington, DC) – Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule to restrict visas for international students. The proposed rule would place an expiration date on visas that had previously lasted the duration of a student's degree program. Now, most international student visas would expire after four years.

Increased restrictions will also be placed on individuals born in a few dozen countries with a visa overstay rate that exceeds 10 percent, with visas expiring after two years, severely restricting their ability to obtain any degree from a U.S. institution. Over the past several years, temporary visa holders have earned a disproportionately large share of bachelor's degrees. According to statistics from the National Science Foundation, they have earned either half or more than half of U.S. doctoral degrees in certain STEM fields.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL), co-sponsors of the “Keep STEM Talent Act of 2019,” made the following statement.

“The United States has a long and illustrious history of welcoming foreign-born scientists to study and work here, and these scientists have helped make our global leadership in science and innovation possible. The DHS's proposed rule is just the Trump administration's latest attempt to isolate the United States' scientific and academic enterprise and lockout the global talent we need to remain a leader on the world stage. This anti-immigrant proposal serves only to antagonize students, particularly those with African and Middle Eastern nationalities, seeking to learn from and contribute to our nation's science and research institutions.

“We believe that the United States must do more to uphold research integrity and prevent academic espionage at our institutions of higher education, and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee has been working on a bipartisan basis to that end. However, this proposed rule is not a genuine strategy for enhancing either academic security or national security. We urge that the 30-day comment period be extended to allow a serious review and discussion of the impacts of this proposed rule.”

Source: Press Release
September 24, 2020
Rebekah Eskandani (Johnson)
Greg Cybulski (Foster)