Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor: 

During my university years, I once heard someone say that the U.S. is the land of the melting pot. I always pondered the strange terms referenced and wanted to know the contents that were melting.  

When I first arrived in the U.S., the phrase revealed and unfolded itself like an origami that is both expected and surprising simultaneously. The sudden awareness of the true meaning made me feel special, as I was now a part of the pot, too.  

Many people come to the U.S. in search of a better life that is unachievable at home. In this way, the U.S. also houses many international students each year, with quality education, as well as jobs that train them to shape the nation.  

However, in recent days, I see a lot of different policies and rules being set by the Trump administration that are directly and/or indirectly affecting these international students. Terms such as fixed period stay limit the time scholars stay in the U.S.  

Although the officials backed down on the proposal for students already in the U.S., the new students are still being affected by this policy change.  

According to the CNN analysis and DHA data,” People from countries with higher visa overstay rates would be issued visas for a maximum of two years before they would have to apply for an extension. That could affect students from more than 40 countries.”  

International students make up to 5.5% of the U.S. education population and, in 2018, generating $45 billion (about $140 per person in the U.S.) in revenue, per the U.S. Department of Commerce.  

Although the Trump administration dropped the rule for barring international students from taking online classes only, introducing such kinds of rules, even for a brief period, can have a larger impact in the days to come, making the internationals think that education in the U.S. is political.   

Similarly, the administration has new plans for the H1-B lottery, too. This rule is based on the wage category when applying for the lottery.  

This means those people who fall in the top two wage categories will be awarded the visas first and then, if left, will go to the people in the bottom two categories.  

An annual income of $85,000 and above falls on the top category, per this plan. I think this rule has both advantages and disadvantages, where the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.  

Implementing this rule will weed out the above-mentioned problem; however, it will directly affect the skilled labor pool in the U.S. This new rule will impose fear on younger international students and workers and likely deter them from coming to the U.S.  

This has also tightened the eligibility criteria for applicants. Since the visas are issued to people in tech sectors, along with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) backgrounds, it will harm the medical sector, too.  

Per this rule, the entry-level doctors should be paid experienced level wages to work in the rural part of the U.S., as American doctors are attracted to the urban areas. I can understand that the administration did this to protect the American jobs; however, Theresa Cardinal Brown questions and argues, “Why this, why now, and why is it an interim final rule?" 

Students are the future of every nation. I think implementing rules for the benefit of the people of the U.S. is a good thing; however, threatening the status of other people (immigrants and students) coming to the U.S. in search of better life-seeking refuge from the horrors of society in their home country is not the American way. 

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