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New York, NY—(July 10, 2020) World Education Services (WES) is deeply concerned about the recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decision to revoke the visas of international students who do not take in-person classes this fall. The July 6 ICE action comes as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the U.S, raising serious public health concerns and putting both students and universities at risk.
“As an organization dedicated to upholding the global mobility of people into academic and professional settings, WES stands with international students and universities,” said WES CEO and Executive Director Esther T. Benjamin. “Institutions should not be forced to open classrooms if they determine that the risks to faculty, students, and staff are too great. International students should not be penalized for the actions their colleges and universities take in the best interest of public health.”
If fully enforced, the decision will come at a cost to the United States. International students are key contributors to higher education, the economy, and civic life. According to data from the Department of Commerce, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018.
“We believe that the stakes are high now and into the future. International students make innumerable contributions to our campuses, communities, and workplaces. The U.S. is at risk of losing its place as a destination of choice for the world’s most talented students. Today and in the long term, the U.S. will pay a steep price for this policy as these students look to pursue their studies in other countries,” said Benjamin.
WES calls on ICE to reconsider this decision.
WES is a 501(c)3 non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students and professionals achieve their educational and workplace goals in the United States and Canada. Over the course of more than 45 years, WES has provided credential evaluations to nearly three million individuals from around the globe.