8 steps Biden can take to bring international students back

More than three-quarters of faculty say international students improve campus climate
By: | January 13, 2021
Advocates are calling on President-elect Joe Biden to repeal the Muslim travel ban, reinstate DACA and take several other actions to support international students. (GettyImages/Kilito Chan)Advocates are calling on President-elect Joe Biden to repeal the Muslim travel ban, reinstate DACA and take several other actions to support international students. (GettyImages/Kilito Chan)

With international student enrollment having dropped for the first time in more than a decade, advocates are calling on President-elect Joe Biden to take quick action.

The newly formed Global Alliance for International Student Advancement, or GAISA, is urging the incoming Biden-Harris administration to overturn Trump-era decisions such as the Muslim travel ban.

“Despite their significant contributions to the entire higher-ed ecosystem, international students are too often viewed as second-class citizens,” the organization’s president, Richard DeCapua writes in a new report, “Foreign on Campus.” (The report can be accessed through the organization’s web site.)

“International students need to be brought in from the outer edges of our schools to receive their deserved share of our attention, support and appreciation. GAISA is responding directly and authentically to this mandate,” DeCapua says.


UB op-ed: We need to get rights right for international students


In surveys, more than three-quarters of faculty have that said that international students benefit campuses by bringing diverse views and playing key roles in research efforts.

GAISA’s report also finds that 25% of “billion-dollar startup companies” in the U.S. were founded by entrepreneurs who first came to America as an international student.

The organization wants the Biden-Harris administration to create a joint commission for international students in which officials from the departments of education and homeland security can “examine, normalize, and reimagine” the international role of U.S. higher education.

Here are other actions GAISA wants Biden to take: 

  • Repeal the Muslim travel ban
  • Reinstate DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Drop Duration of Status limits
  • Repeal H-1B restrictions
  • Increase internaccess students’ to financial aid
  • Include international students in CARES act funding
  • Expand work rights for international students

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