The United States “in danger” if it does not remain open to global talent

During the launch of a webinar of his new book, America Calling: a foreign student in a land of possibilities, owned by the nonprofit The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Bhandari, an advisor to the organization, noted the declining population of the United States.

“By all accounts, university enrollment by domestic students will decline. If the United States does not remain open to global talent from other countries, it will be really threatened in many ways, ”she said.

“International students and immigrants have been at the forefront of American success. Global talent either stayed in the United States and helped make the United States what it is today, or returned home and made connections with the United States. “

“Talking constantly about this value in terms of finances is really detrimental to the student experience because it reduces it to trivialization”

However, despite the Biden administration’s recent withdrawal from the fixed-term visa rule, Bhadari has expressed concern for the future.

“Our policies and the obstacles that stand in the way of international students and those who wish to become skilled immigrants are immense,” she said.

Stephanie Kim, Assistant Professor, Practice & Faculty Director of Higher Education Administration, Georgetown University, emphasized the holistic value of international students.

Kim noted how, since the days of Bhadari students in the 1990s, international students were viewed “specifically less as a source of highly skilled talent and more as a source of income for tuition fees.”

She argued that the United States needs to “reframe the way we talk about value, whether it is the value that international students bring to American campuses or the value that American education will bring to students.” .

“We all know that international students bring $ 30 billion to the US economy,” Kim said, “but constantly talking about this value in financial terms is really damaging to the student experience because it reduces it to a trivialization. “

The webinar also explored the perception of international students from the perspective of the general public and its impact on their student experience.

Bhadari, once an international student and often asked by her contemporaries if she intended to stay in the United States, ventured to say that “in the United States. Maybe they take away our jobs?”

This conception was the key to a subsequent discussion of the “intersectionality” of international students.

Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence, American University, noted that the experience of international students is multi-layered, taking into account dimensions of race, gender and religion.

Recounting her life journey as a “global nomad,” Aw said, “What does this mean to me, as a woman born in a predominantly Muslim country? Fast forward to America and the representations of Muslims in this country after 9/11. You add those extra layers, and then you start to really understand how complex the international student experience is.

Aw spoke about international students with a “hybrid identity”. It was a notion that Jorge Gonzalez, president of Kalamazoo College in Michigan, anticipated when he remarked earlier that as an international student “you’re not here anymore; you are no longer here “.

“Every time we come back, the fear of the immigration officer is very real”

Drawing on his own experience, Gonzalez pointed out how this feeling can linger, even among those who have settled in the United States.

“Many of us have lived in this country for decades. Every time we come back the fear of the immigration officer is very real because they have discretion that can make your life really, really complicated.

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