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Pollack, higher-ed leaders express immigration concerns

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack, together with the leaders of a broad cross-section of colleges and universities across New York state, wrote to members of the New York congressional delegation on Oct. 10, urging them to address a growing number of concerns with immigration policies that target international students and scholars in the United States.

The letter, signed by the presidents and chancellors of 57 colleges and universities and the president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, reminded lawmakers that one of the reasons higher education in New York state is thriving is because these schools have opened their doors to students from around the world. International students, they said, make significant contributions to the sciences, arts, entrepreneurship, industry and local communities, adding more than $5 billion to the state’s economy.

In recent years, however, a number of policy changes have made it more difficult for international students, faculty and visiting scholars to pursue an education or career path in the United States. The letter cites processing delays for student visas and for optional practical training, and additional requests for evidence from highly skilled H1-B visa applicants. These delays affect the quality of education and life for international students as well as campus communities, and have led to a decline in the number of international students who are applying to U.S. universities.

Pollack and her colleagues asked lawmakers to “closely monitor the policies and administrative actions that are disrupting the mobility of students and scholars that are essential to U.S. universities and to maintaining steady economic growth.”

Dianne Miller is Cornell’s senior director of federal relations.

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John Carberry