Actions on Duration of Stay

We recognize many of you are monitoring the recent Notice of Proposed Rule Making out on the Duration of Stay for international students.

The deadline for comments was October 26th and we know that WSU sent comments in via International Programs. As background there are many letters circulating form Capitol Hill signed by the Washington Delegation and sent to the Administration on this proposed rule:

Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA) was joined by 19 other GOP members of the House in a sign-on letter to express concerns with the Department of Homeland Security’s recent notice of proposed rulemaking on “Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media.” The letter says that the proposed rule would “be detrimental to the United States’ ability to attract the best and brightest international students and exchange visitors from around the world.”  The rule would modify the department’s longstanding duration of status policy to a fixed duration policy which would allow F, and J, and I visa holders two or four years to complete their degree, depending on several factors. Under the proposal, a student who needs additional time to complete their degree would need to petition DHS for an extension of stay.

The final letter was signed by twenty Republicans including Washington’s Republican members Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and Congressman Dan Newhouse. The strategy behind this was to have the Administration hear from Members of their own party with concerns on these changes.  We led the efforts with the office but worked with APLU who coordinated the association work and with UW on this letter.

PAC12 also sent a letter expanding on how the proposed rule would impact international student athletes. They note the proposed rule is “deeply flawed and would undermine the ability of colleges and universities to recruit the best students from around the world”. They also expanded on the financial implications of the ruling for the students and highlighted how the uncertainty would detrimentally impact athlete’s choices before strongly opposing it.

Democrats Rep Debbie Dingell (MI) & Rep Mark Pocan (WI) also sent a letter signed by 106 Democrats expressing concern as the proposed rule “would arbitrarily limit international student visa lengths and place additional restrictions on student visas based on an individual’s country of origin.” They continued to state the proposed rule would increase “burdens on students and universities, further disincentivizing prospective international students from attending U.S. institutions of higher education” They further expanded on the value that international students bring to the US and further expand on the detrimental effect of the proposed rule.

Senator Murray also sent a letter late in October with 28 other Senators with extensive comments on this proposed rule dissecting the language of the mandate and noting five major areas of concern with the proposed rule;

1 – Massive disruption for the healthcare workforce (J-1 physicians)

2 – It would devastate institutions of higher education’s ability to serve

3 – Limiting without adequate rationale

4 – Unnecessary given the current reporting systems

5 – It would further strain United States Citizenship and Immigration resources.

House Democrats sent a letter early in October including Congressman Smith, Congresswoman DelBene, Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Derek Kilmer with extensive comments on this proposed rule.