Suspension of H1-B and J Exchange Visa programs

by Neil Chyten (Article #1953)

The Trump administration has continued its xenophobic policies by making it harder and harder for international students to attend US universities. On June 22, Trump signed an executive order suspending entry into the US for those on H-1B and J-exchange visitor visas. If you are familiar with these particular types of visas, you know that this order will make it harder and harder to attract talented individuals into US universities. The H-1B Visa allows specialized workers to stay in the US for up to six years. Of course, US universities turn out highly talented and highly specialized individuals year after year. They also hire talented individuals year after year. Without the opportunity to stay in the US under an H-1B visa after graduation, potential applicants to US universities will be far more likely to attend college in countries that have more favorable policies toward international students.

The J-exchange visa allows individuals to come to the US for one year under work-exchange or educational-exchange programs. Of course, international students experiencing life in the US for the first time are extremely likely candidates to continue their education at US universities. Collectively, the H-1B and J-exchange visa programs are an excellent way to attract highly skilled and highly educated people to the US. By suspending these programs, the Trump administration is sending a message to the world that the US does not want you unless you are a US citizen. Of course, the administration has made this message loud and clear on many occasions. It withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, stopped honoring international treaties, failed to appear at international meetings, withdrew from, and denounced, the World Health Organization, and denigrated NATO as a thing of the past.

At a time when the world needs to be coming together as a single entity, the current US administration seems to be taking the country in the opposite direction. No country can exist with isolationist policies. Every country is codependent with every other country in the world. There are many of us in the US that are hoping and praying for change with the coming US presidential election. The policies of the current administration do not represent mainstream thought among US citizens. Most of us believe in globalism. Most of us believe in international friendship. Most of us see the value and being a country of collective views, collective experiences, and collective heritages. To our international friends, families, and students, we welcome you to come to the US and to be part of our country, even if the current administration does not.

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