Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) threatened international graduate students again, with a new proposed rule which would make it very difficult for international graduate students to legally remain in the United States to continue their education. The proposed rule would shorten the duration of F-1 and J-1 visas, which are meant to cover the length of an academic program, to four years in general, with essentially no exceptions or opportunities for renewal. Most cruelly, the proposed rule limits visas for students from many majority-Muslim countries and many countries in Africa to only two years. It is nothing less than open discrimination, no doubt meant to further the racist and xenophobic program of DHS.
Some of us are international students who could be affected; others are domestic students who count international students among our friends and colleagues. Either way, we must fight for international students’ rights to be here. We are asking our members to take action against this rule by writing public comments. We invite you to use this template in drafting your unique comment.
The public comment period for the new international student ruling is currently set to end October 25th. Small an act though it may seem, the law requires a government official to read every public comment before the proposed rule can be enforced. The more comments there are, the longer it will take for the rule to take effect – a strategy we were able to use successfully in the past to delay the NLRB’s proposed rule against graduate unions at private universities. We’ve also seen how public pressure prevented some proposed DHS rules from taking effect over the summer. If we fight together, we can defeat this rule and protect international graduate students’ rights.