U.S. Losing Foreign Students

Category: Americas, Life & Society Values: Education Views: 5780

While the US continues to extol the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity, and is, in fact, successfully pushing study abroad for its own students (up 4.4 per cent in 2001/02, to a total of 160,920 students), it is also enforcing all kinds of security measures that, as a result, make travel to the United States more difficult, especially for nationals of certain countries. 

Many graduate programs have been adversely affected as a result of delays and denials pertaining to visas. Countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain are competing more fiercely and successfully than ever before for foreign students in the hopes of supplanting the United States from its position as the preferred destination for international students. A few years ago, for example, British Prime Minister Tony Blair started an $8 million effort to attract additional international students to British universities. 

Washington now reviews the visa applications of all Arab and Muslim men, as well as the applications of anyone visiting the US for the purpose of scientific inquiry. The National Science Board, a federal advisory body established by the US Congress, announced last November that the number of successful visa applications by foreign scientists had dropped by 55 per cent in 2001/02, raising fears that the US, which had been heavily dependent on foreign-born scientists and engineers in the 90s, will face a shortage of talent in the global market. 

The International Herald Tribune quoted Diana Natalicio, president of the University of Texas at El Paso and vice chairwoman of the Science Board, as saying that the United States is not educating enough of its own students in those areas to satisfy the technology-hungry marketplace. This remark was held up by the testimony of Dr John Abner, vice president for Research and Public Service, in his Capitol Hill hearing testimony on Oct. 23, 2003, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, when he testified that one third of all PhDs in science and engineering and two fifths of those in computer science and engineering are awarded to foreign-born students. Two-thirds of foreign students who receive PhDs in the United States in science and engineering remain in the country to work and two-fifths of the faculty in engineering departments across the country are foreign born. 

Foreign students and their dependants contributed more than $12.85 billion to the US economy during the 02/03 academic year, according to a conservative estimate by the Association of International Educators. More than 70 per cent of undergraduate foreign students pay full tuition, providing important revenue for many public universities in the US.

Restrictive measures 

In addition to such factors as economic decline in many countries, safety concerns and an increase in competition for foreign students from other host countries, the decreased rate of enrolment is generally attributed to visa restrictions and the implementation of SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is a US government computerized process, mandated by the US Congress in 1996 after it was found that one of the convicted bombers in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Centre had a student visa. Additional rules were put into place as a result of the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Enhanced Border Security Act of 2002. 

The system is run by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and collects and manages data about foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the US in order to facilitate the analysis of national security risks. The SEVIS database includes students' biographical data, addresses, fields of study, as well as the duration dates for the programs of study. All SEVIS authorized schools (about 6,000 institutions) in the US are required to follow specified reporting and data-updating procedures. A Department of Defense Appropriation Bill in 2002 allocated $36,800,000 in funding for the creation and development of SEVIS. 

Because this vast database must be coordinated with US Ports of Entry and the Department of Homeland Security, and because the information must also be transmitted to the US Department of State consular offices around the world, difficulties arising from technical glitches, faulty information, data access and overzealous enforcement have caused students to fail to obtain visas in a timely fashion and have interfered with their enrolling in the programs to which they have been accepted. Once in the country, students are subject to arrest if they violate regulations. 

Many such alleged violations turn out to be technical or mistaken, yet agents are encouraged to make arrests for public-relations purposes, as noted by Coleen Rowley, a whistle-blower at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On Dec. 27, 2003, the Associated Press ran a story on Abdelqader Abu-Snaineh, a 21-year-old Jordanian student studying computer science at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, who was led in handcuffs from the campus for failing to register under the National Security Entry Exit Registration (NSEER) regulations and was faced with deporting hearings. Abu-Snaineh had reportedly consulted with the appropriate university office regarding his infraction, but such offices are no longer effective in helping students with visa-related problems. 

NSEER is another legislative policy that affects international students studying in the United States. This is an entry-exit registration process requiring temporary foreign visitors from selected countries entering the US to register with immigration authorities. Authorities also track changes in addresses, schools and employment for aliens subject to this system. Jordanians are among visitors so targeted, as are nationals form Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Most of the foreign visitors registered in this system are students, people in the US on extended business travel or people visiting family members for lengthy periods. 

Additionally, an automated entry/exit program that uses fingerprints and photographs to verify the identity of all visa holders (non-immigrants), and that is said to inconvenience visitors for only a few minutes each, will be in effect at all ports of entry by December 2005. This system is called the US VISIT: US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology. 

The United States State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have provided information on student visas and regulations on the following websites:

http://unitedstatesvisas.gov/studying.html

http://educationusa.state.gov

http://www.bice.immigration.gov

 

Source: Excerpted from "Impact of US security measures on foreign students" Jordan Times


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  11 Comments   Comment

  1. AAAhmed from UK

    Southern, the question is why does your government want these bright and hard working foreigners over....because you Americans are too lazy and unintelligent. Either way, I'm glad they arent wasting their time in the US, they should go where their talents are truly needed and appreciated, not in a nation of warmongers and criminals.

  2. madmax from Maghrib

    Vijay Patel, I am happy for you and your new job in India. However, I found your statements very unfair regarding the company you quit and all the Gora's and their "insults" and "attitude" you left behind. You may well have been a victim of prejudice in certain situations, but generalizing and stereotyping shows that you are no better than the Gora's, I find that you are even quicker in sticking the same label on a whole community for the irresponsible acts of the few. Not good Mr. Patel, not really good.

    You may be upset because of many things you have experienced, but that should not force you to become hypocrite. I am sorry to say it so, but that is what I concluded after reading your post which reflects only immaturity an injustice toward a whole community. Think of what you have gained for working for a big telecommunication company and admit that ALL the Gora's were not the way you described them. I happen to be a gora myself and there's not much I can do about it. I may be upset and outraged at the US foreign policy toward the Muslim World, but to blame all the American Gora's for the crime of their government would certainly make me no better than Bush and his mafia.

    Come back to your senses and peace to you.

  3. Southern from Europe

    If you have so negative attitude towards USA, why do you go there to study? Why don't you study in Muslim countries?

  4. Ahmed Sha from US

    I've got 2 stories to tell you.The 1st happened in Phoenix,when I went to a mall to find a lab 4 my lab-test.I couldn't find the lab,so I asked this guy for directions.I went to the pl he directed to find the lab wasn't there.So i went to him again.What he told me shocked me.He said that he can't help me but if i parted with $100,then he'll help me.So i left the pl.Seeing me leave,he said 'to go back to where i came from.Hearing this i asked him 'to go back where he came from.He didn't realise that both were former immigrants from other countries.Btw,i'm Asian Indian.

    The 2nd story was @ LA. A jewish gem'en owed me some money and was trying to dodge me.I got fed up and approached his roomate 4 help.The room mate said he'll buzz me as soon as my debtor walked in to the office.He was true to his word.So i finally got hold of this guy and got my money.You'll be surprised if i tell you the guy who helped me was a Hasidic Jewish gem'en.

    So what i gathered from these 2 incidents are that men come in all colours and hues.It's better not to stereotype people.

    There are ppl who got Muslim names,but do not return their amanah.There are Hindus,who make sure that their amanahs are rtd before they die.Then there are Jews like my friends from the above episode.

    Christians like the guy in Phoenix do exist and Christians who are prepared to give their lives, like those reporters who laid their lives down to Israeli tanks 'cos they were reporting the truth.

    So individuals should be taken for their generosity rather than stereotypying for their religious affiliations.

    America is going thru one of the most tumultuous times 'cos of the worst of ppl who run it and who belong to various religious faiths.

    I really pity the real freedom seeking American public, who are really hijacked by these scoundrels.But for these Americans, justice is not far away.

    'Long live America and its hard earned freedom'.

  5. Peter from USA

    I agree with Prof. Hamod, we need to have a greater understanding of Islam in this country. The amount of ignorance and fear is disturbing. Also, as a country we are the poorer for losing people in this way.

    The fear and derision with which Islam is currently being treated reminds me of how Catholics and Jews were once regarded here (and still are in some circles).

  6. Imran Alam from USA

    Mr. Patel, very insightful comment.

    But WHY it is OK with you when GORAs hate Muslims as you mentioned in your comment?

    Don't you hate Muslim as a Hindu in India or anywhere?

    You got dose for your own ignorance by Goras and realized the ugliness of racism and hate.

    Mr. Patel, I don't hate anybody on any basis. But I may not like, and I don't, a person based on his arrogance, stupidity, racism, lying, double standard etc. etc. be it from any religion.If that person changes his behavior, things become OK.

    That is why, Knowledge is power. What kind knowledge? There are so many people in the world who are "Educated" and "Knowledgable" but their full time job is to spew venom and talk only arrogance.

    Knowledge that uplift human beings and enlighten thier souls, counts.

  7. prof. sam hamod from USA

    This is a most unfortunate development. There is so much misunderstanding of Islam and the Arab world in America as things stand; foreign students interacting with American-born students is a good antidote to the ethnocentrism that is beginning to become more evident in American society (in spite of the growth of "multiculturalism" in some sectors).

  8. AAAhmed from UK

    Excellent insight Mr.Patel. Its good to see decent hard working and intelligent people coming back to their senses.

    If you think about it, its really their loss and thats a good thing for sensible people everywhere.

  9. Vijay Patel from India

    When I quit my job at AT&T and returned to India where I joined a start up tech company for a whole lot less than I was making in the US, I thought that my friends would think I had gone mad. But I was pleasantly surprised that upon my arrival not only have I met so many Indians who also left good jobs in the US and UK disenfranchised with the US, but at my new job my working group is almost entirely made up of guys who left the US on their own to pursue a life in our country where we do not have to work for Gora's (White People) and also endure their insults, stupidity, ignorance, hate, and venom each and every day. I used to think its ok they just hate Muslims, but I have realized that they hate all coloured people and anyone who is not either a Christian or a Jew. Hence they lump Blacks, Hindus, Muslims, Spanish all in one category - less than human. So for me it was an easy decision to leave the US, where I would be expected to work like a donkey for the Gora and also put up with his racism. I think on parting that Americans are dense enough to re-elect Bush. The selfish and rich white collar Goras on the East coast who watch Fox News and don't give a damn about anybody but themselves, the brain dead Southern Christian Militants and extremists who follow their Evangelist preachers blindly, the uneducated Southerners whose life circles around beer cans, and motorcycles and watching wrestling and bikini contests, the American Jews and their fellow nutters in Israel who envision a greater israel covering the lands of Syria, Iran, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq - these are the knuckleheads who will vote back Bush for yet another term - and I say they deserve him and perish all intelect and common sense in the US.

  10. Nadeem Bahadur from Bangladesh

    After passing our O and A levels and scoring pretty well in SATs, I and a good number of my friends were offered science scholarships by a number of US Ivy League schools and even some UK universities. Though studying at an institution where English is the medium of instruction would be best for us, in light of the policy of hate and discrimination Muslims are facing in the US and UK we have unanimously decided that even if we have to learn a foreign language as hard as German, Swedish or Norwegian, that would be the preferred option for us. My friends and I would never want to benefit a country whose policy is the systematic destruction of Muslims and rape and pillage of their lands. I hope that some day we can make a difference to benefit Muslims and NOT those that seek to destroy us.

  11. Charles Jakcs from USA

    The wise man teaches his neighbors so that his children might have teachers.

    What we are seeing is the implosion of the US under a leader that follows the tactics of the tyrant. The results are inevitable. The US will become little more than a third world country in less than one generational time. The process has started and is unlikely to be reversible.

    The traditional cry of the tyrant, "national security", is used as an excuse for abuse all around.

    But what does the American people expect from a man who secretly wants to set mankind on a course of failure in order to force God to send Jesus back to straighten out the mess he creates? If they reelect a man who gives weekly updates to the leader of an End Time Armageddon cult they will get what they desire (and deserve).

    But the rest of the world needs to take warning. Baby Bush's plans won't be limited to the US. The rest of the world only survives to the extent that it disengages and isolates this character from a bad James Bond script and develops an alternative for the sustainability of humanity.