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AGs of 22 states in US oppose proposed curbs on student visas

NEW DELHI: A coalition of attorneys general drawn from 22 states in the US have opposed a proposed rule that seeks to limit the duration of international student visas to four years and in some cases, to two years.
In a letter to acting secretary of department of homeland security (DHS) Chad Wolf, they said the proposed rule, if finalised, would permanently injure US educational institutions and state economies by discouraging or preventing students from pursuing education in the US. They called for setting aside the proposed rule in its entirety. The letter is a morale booster to Harvard and other educational institutions who have also opposed the proposal.
“The proposed rule is arbitrary and capricious, and therefore can’t withstand scrutiny under the Administrative Procedure Act, on several grounds, including faulty logic, defective data, and tenuous reasoning,” they said in the letter. The AGs represent states such as Columbia, California, Illinois, New York, Virginia and Washington.
TOI in its edition of September 26, had analysed the proposed rule. Currently, international students can stay in the US as long as they are engaged in studies. Under the proposed rule, For J non-immigrants (which covers students undertaking academic courses, research scholars and their dependants) will be admitted to the US for a period not exceeding four years.
In some cases, the authorised stay can be limited to two years, such as in those cases where the student was born in or is resident of a country which is on the terror list and those countries which have a visa overstay rate of over 10%. The need to protect national security and prevent overstay are the avowed objectives of the proposed rule. The AGs debunked DHS’ stand that students pursuing a bachelors’ or masters’ degree would complete their studies in four years. “Just 41% of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years,” the letter said, referring to statistics by the National Center for Education.

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