Blog Archives

ICE Proposes Major New Restrictions to International Student Visas

On September 25, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a proposed rule fixing the initial visa term for all international students, exchange visitors, and foreign media representatives to four years, among other restrictions. Furthermore, the proposal would restrict the initial visa term to two years for individuals born in countries designated as state-sponsors of terrorism and citizens of countries with student and exchange visitor overstay rates over 10 percent. Applications to extend the duration of the visa would be possible “if the additional time needed is due to a compelling academic reason, documented medical illness or medical condition, or circumstance that was beyond the student’s control.” Other restrictions included in the proposal are capping the number of times an international student can change majors or degree levels while on a visa, limiting allowed English language training to two years over the student’s lifetime, and giving ICE the discretion to approve or deny stay applications. Current international student visas would not be affected.

The rule proposal has been criticized by many in the higher education community due to concerns it would unnecessarily bar international students from studying in the U.S., some noting that academic programs frequently take longer than the proposed maximum initial visa term of four years. However, since the rule finalization process may not be completed before January 20, 2021, a change in the Presidential administration could prevent any changes from occurring.

Stakeholder comments on the proposal will be accepted through October 26, 2020. The proposal can be read in full in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 19 (September 29), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

White House Issues Ban on Entry of Skilled Foreign Workers

On June 22, President Trump issued a proclamation further extending restrictions on foreign travel to the United States in order to reduce the competitiveness of the U.S. labor market. The proclamation argues that due to the economic downturn and resulting unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic, foreign workers “pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.” The proclamation prohibits the entry of foreign workers under several visa categories commonly used by science and academic institutions to hire employees with unique skills and specialized training, including H-1B and H-4 visas, for skilled workers and their spouses respectively; J-1 visas, for scholarly and other cultural exchanges; most H-2B visas, for nonagricultural workers; and L-1 visas, for foreign employees of companies to transfer to U.S. locations. The proclamation takes effect on June 24 and will remain in effect through the end of 2020.

Many scientific and higher education organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU),  have issued statements criticizing the proclamation, arguing that preventing the entry of skilled workers to the U.S. will reduce the competitiveness of American industry and stifle scientific progress.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 23), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

CJRA and COSSA to Host “Ask a Criminologist” Panel Exploring the Connection Between Immigration and Crime

COSSA and the Crime & Justice Research Alliance (CJRA) (a collaborative effort of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology, both COSSA members) will host the fourth in a series of “Ask a Criminologist” Congressional briefings on Monday, June 24. This interactive briefing will explore the relationships between immigration trends, policies, and public safety. The discussion will be moderated by CJRA Past Chair Dr. Nancy La Vigne of the Urban Institute and Dr. Anthony Peguero of Virginia Tech University. Featured speakers will include Dr. Daniel E. Martinez of the University of Arizona, Dr. Janice Iwama of American University, and Edward Flynn, former Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department. More information and a link to RSVP can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 11), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Joins Scientific Community in Call for End to Travel Ban

On January 31, COSSA joined over 170 other leading scientific organizations on a letter to the Trump Administration calling for it to rescind its January 27 executive order that placed a hold on legal travel to the for citizens of seven countries. The letter states that the undersigned organizations “are deeply concerned that this Executive Order will have a negative impact on the ability of scientists and engineers in industry and academia to enter, or leave from and return to, the. This will reduce U.S. science and engineering output to the detriment of America and Americans.” The letter is available in full here. Signatures are still being collected. COSSA’s Executive Director, Wendy Naus, discussed some of the potential implications of the Administration’s actions in recent article in the Huffington Post.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NAS Releases New Reports on Immigrants, Forensic Science

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has recently released two noteworthy reports. The first, The Integration of Immigrants into American Society, compiles the available evidence on “how immigrants and their descendants are integrating into American society in a range of areas such as education, occupations, health, and language. The second report, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), examined NIJ’s efforts to advance forensic science research and recommend ways to improve its research program. The report, Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice, finds, “NIJ has made progress in the past five or six years toward improving its research operations and expanding efforts to build a research infrastructure in forensic science… However, although these improvements are commendable and important, more work is needed to bolster NIJ’s ability to advance forensic science research.”

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Posted in Issue 18 (October 6), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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