Against Trump’s Student Immigration Policies


During my university years, I once heard someone say that the United States is the land of the melting pot. I always pondered the strange terms referenced and wanted to know the contents that were melting.

When I first arrived in the US, the phrase revealed and unfolded itself like an origami that is both expected and surprising simultaneously. The journey from the airport to the place I stayed in, I saw people from various countries: race, culture, ethnicity, and color. The sudden awareness of the true meaning made me feel special as I was now a part of the pot too.

This country has always been a land of dreams for people all around the world. I still believe it to be true today. The US hosts skilled as well as unskilled people from all around the world. In doing so, both the country and people gain benefits; the country achieves hard-working people, as well as a skilled labor pool, in exchange, they achieve their dream life. Many people come to the US in search of a better and tranquil life unachievable at home. In this way, the US also houses many international students each year with quality education as well as jobs that train them to shape the country. However, in recent days, I see a lot of different policies and rules being set by the government that is directly and or indirectly affecting these international students and workers. Terms such as fixed period stay limit the time scholars stay in the US. Although the officials backed down on the proposal for students already in the US, the new students are still being affected by this policy change. According to the CNN analysis and DHA data,” People from countries with higher visa overstay rates would be issued visas for a maximum of two years before they would have to apply for an extension. That could affect students from more than 40 countries.” International students’ makeup to 5.5 percent of the US education population and in 2018 generating $45 billion (about $140 per person in the US) (about $140 per person in the US) in revenue as per the department of commerce. Although the Trump administration drops rule for barring international students from taking online classes only, introducing such kinds of rules even for a brief period can have a larger impact in the days to come making the internationals think that education in the US has now been political.

Similarly, the Trump administration has new plans for the H1-B lottery too. This rule is based on the wage category when applying for the lottery. This means those people who fall in the top two wage categories will be awarded the visas first and then if left will go to the people in the bottom two categories. An annual income of $85,000 and above falls on the top category as per this plan. I think this rule has both advantages and disadvantages where the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. According to the report by Daniel Costa and Ron Hira,” Half of the top 30 H-1B employers use an outsourcing business model to provide staff for third-party clients, rather than employing H-1B workers directly to fill a special need at the company that applies for the visa.” (“US visa: Most H-1B employers use program … – Zee Business”) They further added, “Among the top 30 H-1B employers are major U.S. firms including Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, Google, Apple, and Facebook. All of them take advantage of program rules to legally pay many of their H-1B workers below the local median wage for the jobs they fill.” (“Are H-1B Visa Workers Overpaid or Underpaid?”) Implementing this rule will weed out the above-mentioned problem however will directly affect the skilled labor pool in the US. This new rule will impose fear on younger international students and workers and likely deter them from the US. This has also tightened the eligibility criteria for applicants. “Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of homeland security, said he expected the changes to cut by one-third the number of petitions filed annually for the coveted visas.” (“Trump Moves to Tighten Visa Access for High-Skilled …”) Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, mentions in the New York times that, “By increasing the required wages, the new rules will harm all employers trying to hire foreign workers, but especially start-up companies and smaller firms who may not be able to meet the increased wage requirements”. (“Trump Moves to Tighten Visa Access for High-Skilled …”) Since the visas are issued to people in tech sectors along with STEM background, it will harm the medical sector too. As per this rule, the entry-level doctors should be paid experienced level wages to work in the rural part of the US as American doctors are attracted to the urban areas. I can understand that the administration did this to protect the American jobs however Theresa Cardinal Brown questions and argues, “Why this, why now, and why is it an interim final rule?”, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “There’s no estimate of the number of jobs this would free up for U.S. workers. It’s a bank shot at best.”

Students are the future of every nation. I think implementing rules for the benefit of the people of the US is a good thing, however, threatening the status of other people (immigrants; students, and workers) coming to the US in search of better life seeking refuge from the horrors of society in their home country is not the American way. Furthermore, I think the administration will also take into consideration the new small business/startups as it directly hampers them too as the giants in the markets won’t be affected by such policies.