A group of presidents belonging to the Patriot League have announced their opposition to the federal government’s new rules restricting access and opportunities for international students attending colleges and universities in the United States.

“We join colleagues across the League and throughout higher education in stating our strong opposition to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s newly announced immigration restrictions for students with F-1 and M-1 visas at schools planning to take all their classes online in the fall. While many of our institutions are planning to offer in-person classes for the fall semester, the national situation related to COVID-19 makes this an uncertain time that could result in changes at any one of our institutions. This is even more apparent in recent days as COVID-19 infection rates have soared in many states.

The decision announced by The Student and Exchange Visitor Program of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement creates an unnecessary, and potentially dangerous situation in which schools and their international students will face undue hardship should a college be forced to transition to remote learning. Given the unpredictable nature of this pandemic, and the health risks of COVID-19, the federal government should be working to help colleges and universities increase access to higher education, rather than making difficult public health decisions play out as punitive measures.

We are also opposed to President Trump’s Executive Order suspending the H-1B visa program. This move also hampers our collective ability to hire the most qualified faculty who are dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders from around the world.

Each of our schools rely on the presence of international students on our campuses to help foster a spirit of global citizenry, and to encourage all students to learn and live in a place that offers rich multicultural communities and global perspectives. It is critical for the federal government to support that work, which has led to the U.S. being one of the most attractive destinations for higher education in the world.

We are committed to supporting legal and lobbying efforts to oppose this damaging and irresponsible policy, including the recently announced Harvard and MIT lawsuit, as well as to fully supporting the international students and faculty on our campuses.”

Sylvia Burwell, American University
Robert A. Brown, Boston University
John Bravman, Bucknell University
Brian W. Casey, Colgate University
Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., College of the Holy Cross
Alison Byerly, Lafayette College
John Simon, Lehigh University
Brian Linnane, S.J., Loyola University Maryland