Steering Committee Letter to Congress Supporting NO BAN Act

The Presidents' Alliance Steering Committee transmitted a letter to Congress expressing its qualified support for the NO BAN Act.

Steering Committee Letter to Congress Supporting the NO BAN Act

 

March 4, 2020

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Re: Presidents’ Alliance Qualified Support of The No Ban Act

Dear Member of Congress:

As the Steering Committee for the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration (Presidents’ Alliance), we write to express our support of the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act (H.R.2214 in the House and S.1123 in the Senate).[1] Specifically, we support that these pieces of legislation would: (a) rescind the administration’s so-called travel bans, presidential proclamations that ban some or all nationals from over a dozen countries, mostly Muslim and African; and (b) codify additional nondiscrimination provisions, including religion. We take no position on the bill’s establishment of a higher standard for future denials on the entry of foreign nationals.

The non-partisan Presidents’ Alliance is comprised of over 450 college and university presidents and chancellors of public and private institutions. Together, our members’ institutions enroll over five million students across 41 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The Presidents’ Alliance is committed to supporting policies that create a welcoming environment for undocumented, immigrant, and international students; and are deeply concerned about how changes in our nation’s immigration policies and practices—including  the travel bans—impact our students and campuses and the communities and states we serve.[2]

These travel bans undermine our higher education institutions’ ability to attract and retain international students, scholars, and their families while doing nothing to promote national security. Specifically, international students and scholars from the banned countries with valid visas are subject to increased rates of secondary inspection, denial of entry, and placement in expedited removal at our nation’s ports of entries.[3] Moreover, the bans impact families of international students and scholars, significantly impeding their ability to visit or emigrate to the United States. Nearly 39,000 international students from the thirteen banned countries were studying in the United States during the 2018–19 academic year, including almost 17,000 from the newly banned countries.[4]

The economic contributions of international students from the countries targeted by the expanded travel ban total approximately $1,427,570,326 and these students support 16,162 jobs.[5] These economic gains are all at risk as a result of the travel bans. The bans on immigrant visas for nationals from some of these countries makes the United States a significantly less attractive destination for international students, faculty, and other professionals.

The travel bans are antithetical to who we are as a country and our nation’s historic commitment to openness and educational excellence. Our nation must continue to be a leader and magnet for international students and scholars and simultaneously maintain a commitment to diversity and multiculturalism on our campuses. For these reasons we share our support of the NO BAN Act and urge the House and Senate to pass this legislation swiftly and without delay. If you have any questions, please contact Jose Magaña-Salgado at (202) 777-8998 or jose@presidentsalliance.org.

Sincerely,

Presidents' Alliance Steering Committee

 

[1] National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants, H.R.2214, 116th Cong. (2019); National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants, S.1123, 116th Cong. (2019).

[2] For more information about the Presidents’ Alliance, visit http://www.presidentsalliance.org.

[3] Elizabeth Redden, A Year of Travel Bans, Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 1, 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/01/year-later-trump-administrations-travel-restrictions-opposed-many-higher-ed-are ("Visa data suggest decreases in the number of individuals from countries affected by the travel ban coming to the U.S. as students or for short-term business travel, a category that includes travel related to academic conferences.").

[4] International Student Totals by Place of Origin, 2012/13 – 2018/19, Inst. of Int’l Educ., https://www.iie.org/Research-and-Insights/Open-Doors/Data/International-Students/Places-of-Origin (last visited Feb. 10, 2020).

[5] See id.

Last updated March 6, 2020.