ISSS recently sponsored an election debrief to respond to concerns from our international students and scholars about immigration policy changes, impacts on jobs and education, discrimination and harassment, and other questions. The debrief presentation covers the following topics:
- Understanding the U.S. law & policy process
- Discrimination and/or harassment
- Rhetoric and accurate information
- Possible impacts
As always, you are welcome to discuss questions and concerns with ISSS. We are here to support you!
Immigration Impact Questions
The following are questions posed by attendees at our recent election debriefs. Please note these are general answers and are not intended to replace advising by an ISSS advisor on specific situations.
Please also keep in mind that these answers are based on current information and reasonable speculation about possible outcomes: there is very little clear and final policy direction available currently. As always, please speak with an ISSS advisor if you have questions or concerns about your specific situation.
We do not have any information that one type of visa will be more impacted than others. We have heard that there is some general support for work visas, so it is possible this will be an area of focus. Additionally we do know there may be an increased focus on enforcement of laws related to all visa types, so be sure to know and follow the rules for your visa type.
Right now, it is no more risky than usual to convert to another type of visa. There have been no changes to the process at this time. In fact, it may be wise to move ahead with plans to convert now, before any potential changes take effect.
We have not seen any indication that any tax treaties will be affected. Tax treaties are negotiated between impacted countries and any changes to a tax treaty would have an impact on both parties, so changes to tax treaties may not be an area of focus.
It depends on what is changed about Obamacare. Current signs are that some provisions of the ACA (Obamacare) will be retained. If there are changes to Obamacare, your insurance policy would be impacted in the same way as anyone else in the U.S. There should be no different impact for international students and scholars.
There have been many statements made by the new administration about Muslims and Muslim countries. It is possible the new administration may re-institute the NSEERs system, which is an immigration vetting system that required extra screening for individuals from some countries. This system has been in place before and was phased out in 2011. Although it causes some inconvenience and requires extra time when traveling, it does not ban anyone from coming to the US on the basis of religion or country of origin. If you have further questions about this, please come and talk to us.
Although we do not know what policy changes may take place, we do know that there has been an increase in hate speech, hate crimes, and other bias incidents. If you are experiencing a bias incident or other negative situation due to your background, please come and talk to us. We can support you. Now more than ever, we must work together to combat ignorance about Islam and Muslims. We will be holding a training session for campus advisors in December to help our community understand Islam and better support Muslim students.