Saturday, September 7, 2019

9 Chinese Students Stopped from Entering US

Increasingly, international students are finding themselves in the US authorities’ crosshairs.

Nine Chinese students who attend Arizona State University were denied entry into the US when they arrived at Los Angeles International airport just days before the start of classes on August 22. 

These students were “deemed inadmissible” by Customs and Border Protection and university officials themselves are in the dark as to why they were sent back to China. 

The University have steadfastly maintained that every one of the students were academically eligible to return to ASU and to the US under their visas. 

A spokesperson for the federal law enforcement agency had said there are more than 60 reasons a foreigner might be considered inadmissible, including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons and immigration violations. And the nine had been disallowed to enter the country supposedly “based on information discovered during the CBP inspection” – although the agency did not elaborate. 

All of the affected students were undergraduates and among them were at least one engineer, a student studying supply-chain management and some life sciences majors. In any case, ASU officials remain in contact with the students, many of whom are continuing their studies through online and/or independent coursework. And some of them are due to graduate this semester!

ASU President Michael Crow (left) last week sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over Customs and Border Protection, as well as the State Department, requesting a review of each student’s situation and an explanation of the “standard procedures” for screening international students and their electronic devices. 

He wrote: “In our country, where we value due process and celebrate the different ways in which our government behaves from that of the arbitrary and capricious behavior of other nations, it is beyond my comprehension how the US government could establish and implement policies that bring about the outcomes we are now witnessing”. 

A university official said on Wednesday that Crow had yet to receive a response. 

Other universities too are battling the federal government’s policies and actions toward international students. 

On August 23, a Harvard-bound Palestinian student was turned away at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. The student, seventeen-year-old Ismail Ajjawi, told the Harvard Crimson that immigration authorities questioned him about his friends’ social media activity and his religion. 

Ajjawi was allowed in on Monday, in time for the start of classes, after he “overcame all grounds of inadmissibility”, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said. 

In a welcome letter to students Tuesday, Harvard President Lawrence Bacow (left) lamented the obstacles international students and immigrants increasingly face coming to the US. 

In California, the University of California system which receives billions of dollars in federal money and has the most Chinese students and scholars in the US, is similarly finding it problematic. Campuses from San Diego to Berkeley have reported that Chinese students and scholars are encountering visa delays, federal scrutiny over their research activities, and fresh restrictions on collaboration with China and Chinese companies. 

American academia has become the latest front in this escalating US-China friction that is Donald Trump’s doing. 

Overall, it is said the number of student visas issued by the State Department has declined sharply in the past three years. 

Sure, the above may still represent a tiny fraction if we look at the sheer numbers of Chinese students studying in the country – but the case made the news nonetheless. Therefore, it is a cause for real concern because Chinese undergraduate and graduate students make up the largest portion of foreign students at US universities. 

For the 2017-18 academic year, the Chinese made up a third of all foreign students, or 363,341 students. And they contribute nearly $13 billion annually to the American economy, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. 

Already, a 2018 survey by the Institute of International Education, a non-profit research group based in New York, showed that nearly half of the 540 higher education institutions that responded reported declines in new Chinese enrollment. 

All because Donald Trump (right) is President of the United States of America!

Americans just love Trump! 

Long live America!

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