Our Global Future Depends on Supporting our International Students

Back in September, The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release stating the agency’s intent to limit the period of F and J visas to either two or four years. The rationale behind the move is to make it easier for DHS to prevent holders from overstaying their visas, and to prevent “foreign adversaries from exploiting the country’s education environment.”

However, if approved, the proposal would make it extremely difficult for international students to pursue graduate studies–especially doctoral programs–at institutions like ASU.

Reflecting this, the ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) has just passed a resolution defending students’ ability to pursue a graduate or professional education un the US, and opposing the changes proposed by the department of Homeland Security.

As the resolution notes, ASU is committed to measuring success by who we include, not whom we exclude, and “the provisions of the Charter regarding inclusion pertain not only to those who live within the borders of the state of Arizona or within the United States of America, but to anyone around the world who seeks a quality postsecondary education.”

Yet the DHS proposal would make it near-impossible for many international students to complete a PhD here within the 2 – 4 year limit that would be imposed on visas.

Speaking personally, this is an issue that is deeply relevant to student success within the College of Global Futures. Our programs grapple with pressing issues that transcend national borders and depend on international engagement. And our research, our programs, and our community, are dependent on the insights and perspectives that non-US students bring to them.

Just as importantly, if we truly believe in the globally transformative nature of what we teach and practice, we need to be engaging with students from around the world, and not excluding them from what they can learn from us, and we from them.

Because of this, it deeply worries me that this proposal, if passed, would have a deep and detrimental impact on our international students, and our ability to support a sustainable and vibrant future that encompasses the whole planet. As a result, I am fully in support of the GPSA resolution.

You can read the full DH proposal and provide comments here. Any written comments and related material must be submitted on or before October 26, 2020.