President Trump is receiving praise from the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers’ network of billionaire organizations — critics of his economic nationalist agenda — after reopening a loophole that will give visas to foreign students taking online classes.
This month, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced it would enforce federal law that dictates that foreign students are not rewarded F-1 visas to stay in the United States for the purpose of attending online courses.
After lawsuits filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as lobbying from the Chamber of Commerce, Trump dropped the policy on Tuesday — ensuring that online-only foreign students can secure F-1 visas.
Chamber of Commerce executives wrote in a statement:
The U.S. Chamber is pleased that the Department of Homeland Security rescinded its ill-conceived policy regarding international students today. Our nation’s educators and our economy are better for it. [Emphasis added]
Good! This rule would have needlessly restricted legal immigration channels for those eager to contribute by learning, developing, and applying their unique talents here in America all while negatively impacting higher ed institutions. @realDonaldTrumphttps://t.co/qPnOncqpnX
— The LIBRE Initiative (@LIBREinitiative) July 14, 2020
Trump’s administration had been lobbied by a handful of House Republicans to reopen the loophole, calling the policy a “blow to our collegiate communities and … international students…” Those Republican lawmakers included Rob Woodall (R-GA), Peter King (R-NY), John Curtis (R-UT), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) President Dan Stein told Breitbart News that the administration’s reopening the student visa loophole is “yet another example of … caving to the pressure of the business lobby and open borders advocates who continue crafting the narrative that international students are somehow anything more than temporary visitors.”
Stein went on to say:
It is unfortunate that their pressure, yet again, stood in the way of this administration enforcing the laws on the books, The president needs to reaffirm his commitment to implementing immigration policies that serve the interests of the American people given how quickly he threw in the towel on this matter.
The F-1 student visa program — as well as the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa program that delivers foreign graduates to businesses at discounted rates — is a cash cow for American colleges and universities.
Every year, nearly one million foreign students who fill seats in undergraduate and graduate programs provide at least $9 billion to U.S. university systems. These foreign students often pay three times as much in tuition and fees as their American counterparts.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.