Biden Throws Out Trump’s Crackdown on Foreign Student Visa Overstays

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AP Photo/Mel Evans

President Joe Biden has thrown out a reform sought by former President Trump that would have brought more federal oversight to foreign nationals in the United States on student visas.

This week, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas withdrew a regulatory proposal by Trump which would have set fixed time limits on student visa-holders.

DHS officials admitted that they withdrew the regulatory proposal after pressure from university systems and higher education officials whose schools profit immensely from charging foreign students, on average, nearly $27,000 for tuition and fees.

The proposal, if implemented, would have ended the process whereby student visa-holders are allowed to remain in the U.S. so long as they continue to be enrolled in classes at colleges and universities.

Instead, the proposal would have set time limits on student visa-holders, requiring most foreign students to extend their visas with DHS after spending four years in the U.S. The goal, Trump’s DHS said, was to provide more federal oversight to prevent visa overstays and investigate potential national security risks.

The proposed rule stated:

These changes would ensure that the Department has an effective mechanism to periodically and directly assess whether these nonimmigrants are complying with the conditions of their classifications and U.S. immigration laws, and to obtain timely and accurate information about the activities they have engaged in and plan to engage in during their temporary stay in the United States. If immigration officers discover a nonimmigrant in one of these categories has overstayed or otherwise violated his or her status, the proposed changes may result in the alien beginning to accrue unlawful presence for purposes of unlawful presence-related statutory grounds of inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). DHS believes this greater oversight would deter F, J, or I nonimmigrants from engaging in fraud and abuse and strengthen the integrity of these nonimmigrant classifications. [Emphasis added]

Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Jessica Vaughan told the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration’s throwing out the proposal “is a big mistake.”

“It makes it much more difficult to enforce the law against overstayers,” Vaughan said.

The move comes as criminal cases involving student visa overstays have revealed the vulnerabilities in the federal government’s inability to track down illegal aliens who originally arrived in the U.S. on visas.

Khaled Awad, a 24-year-old from Egypt, was charged this month with stabbing a Boston, Massachusetts, Rabbi, a father of 12 children, outside of a Jewish school. Awad entered the U.S. in August 2019 on an F-1 student visa but had not been enrolled in classes as of May 2021, thus violating the terms of his visa.

Last year, Nigeria national Ayoola Adisa Ajayi pleaded guilty to murdering 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck in June 2019. At the time, Breitbart News exclusively reported that Ajayi had first arrived in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa in July 2009.

Despite attending the University of Utah from 2009 to 2017, though, Ajayi never got a degree. In 2014, Ajayi was able to adjust his status, securing a green card, after marrying an American citizen. Ajayi later divorced his wife.

Every year, the U.S. issues nearly 800,000 F, M, and J visas to foreign students and their family members, according to State Department data. About 30 percent of F visas are awarded to Chinese nationals as well as about 23 percent of all M visas.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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