AADR Opposes SEVP Modifications to Temporary Exemptions for Nonimmigrant Students
Alexandria, Va., USA – The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) strongly condemns the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes during the fall 2020 semester, announced on July 6, 2020. Among the modifications is that nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating online may not remain in the United States. This misguided policy—released amid a global pandemic—has consequences that negatively impact students, academic institutions, communities, the scientific enterprise, and the U.S. economy.
These changes not only show blatant disregard for the science and evidence on mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic, but also harm tens of thousands of international students along with the colleges and universities working to balance health concerns for their students, faculty, staff, and surrounding communities with their mission of teaching, research and scholarship.
Nonimmigrant students reside in the United States to obtain an education. It is unacceptable to force students to choose between uprooting their educational course of study and life in the United States (and risk not being able to return) and transferring to another institution offering in-person classes—potentially putting their and others’ health at risk. Further, students rely on their educational institutions for access to technical and archival resources and libraries and laboratories, which may not be available in their home countries or in the institutions to which they might transfer.
Colleges and universities similarly rely on international visa holders, whose loss would result in disruptions to learning and research, among other costs. Nonimmigrant students with international visas contribute to a vibrant learning environment for all, and without their presence, college and university experiences across the country would be compromised.
Through this order, the United States further jeopardizes the recruitment and retention of international talent in fields including science and medicine, which is in our national interest. It is a destructive move on both sides—hindering foreign-born students from being able to seek opportunities in the United States’ renowned higher education system and depleting the United States of bright, highly capable students whose contributions make us stronger as a society.
Within our own scientific field, many leading dental, oral and craniofacial researchers—including NIH-funded investigators, research deans, and past and current AADR Board members—originally arrived in the United States on international student visas. It is shortsighted and to our disadvantage to cut off this pipeline of promising students and potential researchers.
AADR urges the administration to reinstate and extend the temporary visa exemptions for international students, regardless of whether their academic institutions will be moving to online instruction.
Click to view a PDF of this press release.
About the American Association for Dental Research
The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 3,100 individual members in the United States, dedicated to driving dental, oral and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being through discovery and dissemination. The AADR is the largest Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).