Nevada Attorney General Ford joins opposition to proposed student visa limits

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Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford has joined with 22 state attorneys general to oppose restrictions on international student visas that would limit stays and interfere with some students’ ability to earn a degree.

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a rule that would limit student visas to two or four years — they are currently not time limited.

In urging DHS to abandon the proposal, the state law enforcement leaders say the limits “would harm international students, limit educational opportunities for American students, damage state economies, create unnecessary red tape, and violate federal law.”

“The Trump Administration has shown little to no concern for the health and safety of students, especially during the pandemic,” Ford said.

“International students make up a critical part of our higher education institutions here in Nevada,” he said. “Now the Trump Administration wants to upend immigration rules that have been in place for over 40 years and harm Nevada’s higher education system. As your attorney general, I believe the job of my office is justice, and fighting the Trump Administration’s attacks on our students, colleges, and universities is no exception.”

The DHS proposal identifies some countries as “state sponsors of terrorism” and seeks to limit visas.

“The proposed DHS rule is the latest in a series of unlawful attempts by the Trump administration to keep citizens of other countries out of the United States,” according to a news release from Ford’s office.

The coalition challenges the proposed rule because it would:

  • Cause sharp declines in international student enrollment
  • Negatively impact opportunities for American students
  • Harm state economies
  • Create unnecessary bureaucratic red tape

Many of the arguments cite the economic benefits that come with international students. “According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018 and, according the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors, supported 458,290 American jobs,” according to the coalition.

The attorneys general also argue that the Acting DHS Secretary lacks legal authority to implement rules and that the proposed rule conflicts with existing federal statutes and regulations.

The District of Columbia and Massachusetts led the letter and in addition to Nevada, are joined by state attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

A copy of the comment letter is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-10/DHS-Comment-Student-Visas.pdf

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