There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for Bringham Young University(BYU) international students with Biden immigrant-friendly policies.
President Joe Biden and his immigration-friendly policies have given hope to international students that were adversely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and some decisions made by the Trump administration to complete their studies in the US.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration policies and laws affecting international students were a constant threat.
Challenges with former president decisions
The National Association of Foreign Student Advisors, in a study in 2020, reported that university and industry leaders recognize that anti-immigrant policies contribute to a chilling impact on international education in the United States.
The international students and scholars feel less secure and less welcome in the United States than in the previous year survey.
Amid the covid 19, many students were unable to go home for vacations and renew their visas. Other international students impacted academically and economically.
However, Biden signed the US. Citizenship Act, which provides more resources to promote integration and assistance to individuals seeking to become citizens.
When Trump became US president, many immigration policies were at risk, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy and the Optional Practical Training or OPT temporary employment directly associated with an F-1 student visa in the students’ primary area of study.
US universities urged Optional Practical Training(OPT) to remain intact
The Covid-19 outbreak has drastically changed the educational aspect for millions of university students worldwide. The students cannot complete the required paperwork to maintain their legal status or apply to become BYU student.
Many organizations all across the US requested that the OPT, temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s primary area of the study program, remain intact so both businesses and international students can benefit from this employment opportunity.
Thanks to these companies’ appeal and other universities that appealed, the OPT program was not locked down.
On July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE) was prepared to deport all international students who could not take classes physically on campus. As a result, it influenced all international students across the nation.
Department of Homeland Security and ICE lost a federal court case against the higher education institutes that supported overseas students’ right to retain their access to university education.
Many students were close to losing their status, said Gerardo Villar, an immigration paralegal at Weber Law. Many students before July 6 were not even able to request files for the visas, a file that manages students with legitimate status in the US.
According to Villar, reinstatement is necessary when an international student loses his or her status as a student because of expired paperwork filed with the US government. This procedure usually takes an average of 08 months.
As some country’s embassy and consulates are still closed resulting, overseas students cannot return to the US.
International students can only work on-campus legally. The risk of hours being reduced and the high demand placed on few jobs have added stress for some students with financial needs.
Villar said many international students had to find jobs outside the campus due to the pandemic outcomes, but there is a risk of losing their visa when working outside the campus. Some students cannot go back to their country otherwise;, they would not be able to come back.
The US Citizenship Act signed by Biden will address many of the issues international students’ encounters, like eliminating unnecessary hurdles to obtain an employment-based green card.