Below are the latest immigration updates from the United States and Canada.
- President Trump orders, then delays, ICE raids (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
- Trump cuts aid funding to Central American countries over border crisis.
- China extradition bill may send many Hong Kong residents to Canada.
- New rural immigration program provides jobs for migrants in Canada.
Read on for more about each of these important news items affecting immigrants and international students coming to North America.
Trump Delays Start of ICE Raids
President Trump tweeted last week that “millions” of undocumented immigrants were about to be removed from the U.S. Then, ICE was instructed to begin targeting those with existing deportation orders over the weekend. The unprecedented move would have mostly impacted mixed-status families and children in 10 major cities, including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City.
However, at the urging of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump called off his own plan last Friday. Then, he stated that he will delay the ICE raids for two weeks in order to “give Democrats and Republicans a chance to work out a solution” to illegal immigration at the border.
Trump: Less Support Will Help Border Crisis
Last week, Trump also announced that millions of dollars in aid to Central American countries will be cut. The move will specifically target El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, because thousands of their citizens had attempted to cross into the United States through Mexico. Trump’s administration believes that eliminating much-needed resources from imperiled countries will demotivate people from fleeing those countries.
OPT Processing Time Nearly Doubles
What used to be a standard 90-day processing time for Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permits is now up to a five-month wait time for international students and recent graduates. This puts work opportunities such as summer jobs and internships at risk of being lost while students remain in limbo. This has also created several financial roadblocks for international students, especially when it comes to covering housing and transportation costs. Angered by this, many students have started petitions and written letters to university leaders to voice their frustration.
Chinese-U.S. Tensions Impact Student Enrollment
A decline in Chinese student enrollment is being attributed to the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China. As a result, American colleges and universities report that visa delays and denials are taking a toll on international student enrollment. Because international students contribute over 42 billion annually to the U.S. economy, the decline could have serious implications. Two weeks ago, China’s Ministry of Education warned students explicitly against studying in the U.S. Additionally, the nation abruptly suspended a program last week that prepared students to take advanced placement exams for college credit in the U.S.
Institutions Are Becoming ‘Test Optional’
It might be a good thing for Chinese students with hopes of studying in the U.S. that more institutions are becoming test optional when it comes to standardized testing. ACT and SAT test scores are no longer a requirement for admissions at Carthage College, Marquette University, the University of Rochester, and the University of Southern Maine.
While policies vary by institution, this move could lead to increased enrollment applications, as seen at the University of Rochester. Some U.S. universities have already started to accept gaokao scores for Chinese student admissions. The University of San Francisco has been accepting gaokao scores for three years now and says that ranking Chinese students have been on par with other international students.
Will Hong Kong Residents Return to Canada?
As protests against the Hong Kong bill that would allow for extraditions to China continue, experts say the Canadian government should prepare for a “mass migration” as people flee Hong Kong. Additionally, experts say that Canadians living and working in Hong Kong may feel safer coming back to Canada.
Rural Immigration Program: A Win for Businesses and Immigrants
The economy in Canada may see a boost as 11 communities have been chosen for a new rural immigration program. The program will allow rural employers to hire immigrants, while also allowing immigrants to choose one of these communities for permanent residency. This will hopefully offset population declines and worker shortages seen in many rural and northern communities across Canada.
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