Northwestern among 29 Illinois colleges and universities that submitted a joint letter to congressional members on immigration policies


Joshua Hoffman/ Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern was one of 29 Illinois colleges and universities to send a letter addressing current immigration policies.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

University president Morton Schapiro and officials representing 28 other Illinois colleges and universities sent a letter Feb. 13 urging the state’s congressional delegates to act against current restrictions on immigration.

The letter representing Northwestern, University of Illinois System, Roosevelt University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago and others, states that recent changes in immigration regulations prevent international students from coming to or staying in Illinois educational institutions, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

“Systemic delays and increasing uncertainty regarding our immigration system harm efforts to recruit and retain international talent at our universities and across the country,” the letter said.

These restrictive immigration policies lead to reversals of formerly legal visas, delays and denials of visas and postponement of processing temporary employment requests of graduating international students, according to the letter.

The delays and denials may impact more than 53,000 international students studying in Illinois educational institutions during the 2018-2019 year. The letter also noted that international students contribute about $1.9 billion to the state economy and enable more than 25,000 jobs.

The joint letter also succeeds a letter submitted by University of Chicago president, Robert Zimmer, last month, which expressed similar concerns.

Problems in visas caused by the immigration regulations have led to students postponing their studies at Illinois universities, the letters state.

The letter urges Illinois congressional delegates to conduct hearings on the issues and suggests representatives consider authorizing visa applications that do not require students to indicate if they intend to return to their home nations upon completion of their degree.

“In the longer term, we look forward to working with (Congress) to enact comprehensive immigration reform that addresses these and other priorities,” their letter said.

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