I am writing this idea in order to urge the Department of Homeland Security to not go through with the proposal to watch international students even more closely than they already are and to have them register every year, while paying a fee. This is in response to the recent news about a new proposal by DHS officials. This proposal is a disaster not only because the agency and schools lack the resources to keep up with this heightened demand of paperwork, but also because it would mean more work toward repeating practices that ISS offices in the U.S. already do.
President Trump has increased funding for DHS, but mostly to be used to halt immigrants from gaining tax credits, e-verity, and border control. The part of the DHS that would need to go through the paperwork for international students is USCIS; USCIS would require a fee from international students every. single. year. The other participant in this registration is International Student Services offices at universities in the U.S. But firstly, why on Earth would USCIS do more work to do something that's already being done, when I doubt there would be more hiring on the USCIS end of the DHS (more hiring is being done at border control)? International student services at universities already speak to SEVIS on the immigration status of international students in the United States. International students also already apply for extensions of I-20s and they apply to work in the U.S. (under strict guidelines already). They also already apply to change their level of education, to transfer schools, to work for only 1-3 years in the U.S. after graduation on OPT (they also give us enough technical skills to fill the workforce and our tech companies since not enough Americans are going into STEM, but that's a completely different discussion), and many other things that help them go through school. They already apply for these subtle changes in their immigration status - why should our tax dollars go to an agency to do things that international student services offices around the country and SEVIS already do? This would just be an increase in paperwork to do things that these offices already do, like verifying status with SEVIS and examining applications from international students. Although these offices already do this paperwork, even more paperwork to deal with more international student registrations would only hurt. Higher ed institutions don't have the funding or resources to do more paperwork with registering intl students every single year, especially when higher education institutions are already pinching pennies when it comes to higher ed budget, which goes into my next point.
Do you really want to increase fees for international students? This would deter international students from coming here, while higher education institutions already rely on international students' tuition dollars to keep themselves afloat after state budget cuts to higher education. The Secretary of the Dept of Education also doesn't seem to making this any better. Don't want international students? You'll see an even bigger increase in tuition, and, if I'm not mistaken, is something the American people are already struggling with.
With these points in mind, I was mostly speaking from a very logical standpoint. I could talk about the diversity that international students bring to the United States and how I've never heard of an international student hurting an American, but I would probably get responses that have to do with my lack of ability to put the American people first. When looking at the priorities of a lot of people in the country, it seems that they would like the United States to be safer and they state that with less immigrants, the U.S. will be safer. I've never heard of an international student harming an American; if you know of any examples, please let me know. In my experience, however, I've usually just known of instances of Americans harming international students with discrimination and recklessness.
International students are also not in the category of being undocumented immigrants. They sustain their status, while universities watch this and report their immigration statuses. They have the potential of becoming out of status in the U.S. after they've finished their schooling, but SEVIS already makes it easy to find this out and it is hard for employers to hire people without an H1B or a Green Card (which an out of status student cannot obtain).
I think it would be a waste of time to go through with this proposal and I don't think it's even in accordance with this current administration's priorities.